Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton rolled up a series of wins on Tuesday, as the two presidential front-runners took a step toward capturing their parties' nominations on the 2016 campaign's biggest day of state-by-state primary contests.
Trump and Clinton turned their sights on each other after their Super Tuesday wins, with Trump promising to "go after" Clinton and the former secretary of state decrying what she called Trump's divisive rhetoric.
U.S. networks projected Trump won six and Clinton seven states on Super Tuesday, when 12 states were voting. Trump won Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Virginia, while Clinton won Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Trump's rival Ted Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas, won his home state and neighboring Oklahoma, bolstering his argument he had the best chance to stop the controversial Trump. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, favorite of the Republican establishment, was projected the winner in Minnesota, his first victory.
Clinton's rival Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist U.S. senator from Vermont, also won his home state along with Colorado, Minnesota and Oklahoma and vowed to pursue the battle for the nomination in the 35 states that had yet to vote.
Super Tuesday was the biggest single day of state-by-state contests to select party nominees for the Nov. 8 election to succeed Democratic President Barack Obama.
Opinion polls heading into the voting had shown Trump leading in most of the 11 Republican contests up for grabs, raising the possibility of a big night that would intensify worries among Republican leaders who fear the billionaire could inflict long-term damage on the party.
"I am a unifier," Trump told reporters in Palm Beach, Florida, dismissing concerns that his nomination would rip apart the party. "Once we get all this finished, I'm going after one person - Hillary Clinton."
The networks had yet to project a winner for Republicans in Vermont or Alaska.
Clinton had Trump on her mind in her victory speech, although she never mentioned him by name.
"The stakes in this election have never been higher and the rhetoric we’re hearing on the other side has never been lower," Clinton, 68, told supporters in Miami. "Trying to divide America between us and them is wrong, and we’re not going to let it work."
Sanders won his home state of Vermont and Oklahoma, two of five states he was targeting for victory on Tuesday. He lost to Clinton in Massachusetts, another state he was hoping to win.
Sanders thanked cheering supporters in his hometown of Burlington, Vermont, and assailed the Republican front-runner.