Presidential contender Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBiden administration resists tougher Russia sanctions in Congress Republicans struggle to save funding for Trump's border wall GOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions MORE notched two Super Saturday wins over Republican front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpStowaway found in landing gear of plane after flight from Guatemala to Miami Kushner looking to Middle East for investors in new firm: report GOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips MORE, taking the caucuses in Kansas and Maine.
Trump won the Louisiana primary and the Kentucky caucuses, continuing his dominance in the South.
Earlier in the day, Cruz won the straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, D.C. That poll is unscientific, but generally considered a worthwhile measure of grassroots conservative support.
With his wins, Cruz has effectively bolstered his argument that the Republican presidential race is down to a two-man contest between himself and Trump.
“The scream you hear, the howl that comes from Washington, D.C., is utter terror at what we the people are doing together,” the Texas senator said at a campaign rally in Idaho, which will hold its primary on Tuesday.
“We saw the results on Super Tuesday that were extraordinary and then today on Super Saturday we seem to be seeing a continuation of that very same pattern.”
In Kansas, Cruz will take 24 of the 40 delegates up for grabs. He took 48 percent of the vote, more than doubling up Trump, who will finish in second there, at 23 percent.
While polling was sparse heading into the caucuses in Kansas, Trump was widely viewed as the favorite. The real estate mogul canceled his Saturday appearance at CPAC to rally supporters there, but ended up getting crushed by Cruz, who won neighboring Oklahoma on Super Tuesday.
Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRepublicans struggle to save funding for Trump's border wall Rubio: Dropping FARC from terrorist list threatens Colombians, US security This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead MORE and John Kasich ran distant third and fourth places in Saturday's races.
Trump entered Saturday with 10 victories and 335 delegates, compared to Cruz’s four victories – he now has six in total – and 248 delegates.
Because all of the contests on Saturday are proportional, Cruz won’t cut too much into Trump’s delegate lead, but the victories he’s piling up are helping to separate him from Rubio and Kasich.
The victories are also beginning to provoke debate about Trump’s strength. He steamrolled through the first month of voting, but Cruz is now gaining on him.
Some wonder whether the turbulent last week for Trump is foreshadowing his downfall.
Trump has been embroiled in controversy, for initially refusing to disavow white supremacist David Duke and for alluding to his privates at the GOP debate on Thursday in Detroit.
He’s been under heavy fire from Mitt Romney, the 2012 nominee who reemerged this week with the singular goal of stopping Trump, and Rubio, who has relentlessly mocked him with personal insults.
Still, Cruz was expected to do well in Kansas, which has a strong contingent of social conservatives. The caucuses also play to the Texas senator's organizational strength.
The map appears to get more difficult for Cruz going forward; he won’t be favored to win either of the first two winner-take-all contests on March 15 in Florida and Ohio.
There, Rubio and Kasich could be making their last stands. Both men face must-win primaries in their home states, and both will get a stiff challenge from Trump. But Cruz is not ceding Florida to either Cruz or Trump. This week, he opened 10 offices in the Sunshine State.
Republican voters will primary in Puerto Rico on Sunday. On Tuesday, there are GOP contests in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi and Hawaii.
- Updated at 11 p.m.