The month of April appears to be do-or-die for Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders as both presidential candidates try to win as many delegates as possible and prevent each of their party’s respective frontrunners from winning the nomination outright.
Meanwhile, those frontrunners –- Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton -– will be looking to move further in the direction of locking things up over the next four weeks.
With so much on the line for every candidate, here are five things to watch for in April:
Will Wisconsin Reject the Frontrunners?
On paper, Wisconsin Republicans are tailor-made Trump supporters.
In the 2012 Republican primary, exit polls showed that 57 percent of voters lacked a college degree.
However, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recent endorsement of Cruz, just two weeks before the Wisconsin primary, has given the Texas senator some much needed momentum. In the latest Marquette University Law School poll, Cruz led Trump by 10 points.
The same poll indicates the Badger State is feeling the Bern. Sanders is locked in a tight race with Clinton among likely Wisconsin Democratic voters: 49 to 45 percent.
The Sanders campaign also just announced that it raised a staggering $44 million in March.
I Love New York
New York’s primary on April 19 is not only a battle for gaining delegates, it’s also personal.
Both Democratic candidates have ties to the Empire State, making the contest more competitive. Sanders is Brooklyn-born and Clinton was the state’s senator for eight years.
Having grown up in Queens, New York is Trump’s home turf as well.
Trump was far ahead of Cruz and Kasich in a Quinnipiac poll in New York released on March 31. Trump leads with 56 percent support, while Cruz and Kasich are neck-and-neck at 20 and 19 percent respectively.
The same poll shows, Clinton is 12 points ahead of Sanders.
The Democrats will be vying for 291 delegates while the Republicans will duke it out for 95 delegates.
Ninth Democratic Debate?
There could very well be another Democratic debate ahead of the much anticipated New York primary.
Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver says both candidates should offer their final pitches to the “critical“ voters of the Empire State.
“The people of New York, the largest April primary, deserve to have the debate held in their state,“ Weaver wrote, adding a jab at Clinton: “Your campaign has consistently chosen to deny the people of New York the opportunity to see Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton debate.“
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said his candidate would be happy to debate Sanders this month.
"Our campaign indicated to the Sanders campaign through the DNC that we’re perfectly willing to debate in April,“ Fallon said Tuesday in an interview on Bloomberg’s “With All Due Respect.“ “If they can find a mutually agreeable date in the next couple of weeks before New York, I think it could happen.“
April 26: The Big One
Five northeast states will cast their ballots on April 26 -- Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
Some 463 delegates are at stake for the Democrats and 172 delegates for the Republicans.
While nabbing a majority of the states would give Sanders an opportunity to catch up to Clinton, who leads the Democratic race with 1,243 delegates, candidates on the other side of the aisle seem to have more at stake. For the Republican Party a majority of these primaries are winner-take-all or take most contests.
Delegates, Delegates, Delegates
As of right now, Trump needs to win 60 percent of the remaining delegates in order to garner the needed 1,237 delegates to clinch the Republican nomination. Should the bombastic billionaire lose Wisconsin by a huge margin, a contested convention is almostguaranteed.
With that in mind, all eyes will be on local state meetings where the actual individuals who fill the delegate slots will be chosen. These people will be critical when they are free to vote however they want on later ballots of a convention.
Clinton needs to win just 671 more delegates in order to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. Sanders would need to win more than twice that amount of delegates -- 67 percent of the remaining 2,042 -- to be the party’s standard bearer.