Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz wins Idaho GOP primary

Updated: March 11, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz wins Idaho GOP primary

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) scored a victory in the Idaho Republican primary on Tuesday, adding strength to his argument that he’s the candidate to defeat Donald Trump.

With 52 percent of precincts reporting, Cruz held a 15-point lead over Trump. But the real estate mogul delivered a strong night, posting victories in Mississippi and Michigan.

Trump’s win in Mississippi dealt a blow to Cruz in a Southern state with a large population of evangelicals and social conservatives. Cruz had sought to court those voters but failed to clinch a victory.

While he still lags behind Trump in the overall delegate count, his victory in Idaho gives him bragging rights as the only candidate to best the GOP front-runner on Tuesday.

Cruz continues to position himself as the viable anti-Trump alternative and has called on his fellow GOP rivals to coalesce behind a candidate to take him on.

Cruz will likely split the delegates in Idaho, which awards 32 delegates on a proportional basis.

But Rubio, who currently sits 2 points below the 20 percent threshold, might walk away with none.

So far, the Florida senator has failed to win any of Tuesday’s contest, but polls were still open in Hawaii early Wednesday morning.

Idaho’s victor in 2012 was Mitt Romney, who ultimately won the GOP’s nomination.