Republican Ted Cruz said on Friday (March 25) an article in the National Enquirer tabloid newspaper accusing him of extramarital affairs was "garbage, complete and utter lies" and accused his opponent Donald Trump of being the source of the story.
Cruz told reporters in Wisconsin that the country doesn't want a president "who traffics in sleaze and slime" and "seems to have a real issue with strong women".
The tabloid story said Cruz had five secret lovers, citing a former Trump adviser who remains close to the real-estate mogul, Roger Stone.
Trump responded by lobbing insults on Twitter at Graham, whose presidential bid failed to catch fire. An anti-Trump political group used a photograph of Trump's wife, Melania, a former model, lying nude in his private jet.
Cruz pushed back against the allegations Friday, saying front-runner Donald Trump is behind the story.
"He sits in Trump Tower and sends tweets late at night", said Cruz.
For Trump, attacking another candidate's wife may carry some political risk. "Or you could vote for Ted Cruz on Tuesday".
Asked whether he would still support Mr. Trump, the current front-runner if he won the Republican nomination, Mr. Cruz did not answer directly. The state awards its 42 delegates proportionally, but the "Stop Trump" movement is investing significant funds in the hope they can stymie Trump's charge towards attaining 1,237 delegates needed to become the party's presidential nominee. And further complicating his path, OH governor John Kasich vowed to stay in the race at least until the next primary.
Cruz, a US senator from Texas, is a staunch social conservative and a divisive figure in the party due to his willingness to criticize the leadership and his prominent role in bringing about a 2013 government shutdown. Even in the Republican camp, 39 percent of women did not find Trump their favorite.
And there will be plenty more fighting ahead.
"Hillary's put so many of her chips in NY - her headquarters, being the senator here - that anything less than a 30 point win would be tough for her, and her people are telling everyone as much, " said a prominent Democratic operative involved in campaigning.