WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are tightening their grips on the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations while Ted Cruz claimed two states, including Super Tuesday's biggest prize: Texas.
Voters went to the polls in a dozen states Tuesday and CNN so far projects six wins for Clinton and five for Trump. Clinton will take Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas while Trump will win Georgia, Alabama, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Virginia.
Bernie Sanders, Clinton's insurgent Democratic rival, will capture Oklahoma and his home state of Vermont.
Cruz's projected Texas and Oklahoma victories, meanwhile, are crucial wins that gives him a rationale to carry on in the race. He is certain to point to his score there, combined with his victory in the Iowa caucuses, as proof that only he can actually beat Trump and to argue that his Senate colleague, Marco Rubio, should exit the race and allow him to unite the opposition to the billionaire.
Trump's Virginia win is especially disappointing to Rubio, who had hoped a win there would kick-start his effort to challenge the real estate mogul.
Clinton's victories in the South are further evidence of her strength among African-American voters, which could make it extremely difficult for Sanders to win the nomination.
"What a Super Tuesday," Clinton said at a rally as word of her victories trickled in.
The Super Tuesday contests are a delegate bonanza for front-runners and a test of survival for others as voters went to the polls across the nation, including in the Deep South, in Colorado and Texas, in ice-bound Alaska and Minnesota.
Trump's victories help him stretch his lead in the GOP White House battle and underscore his growing support across all sectors of the Republican coalition. Those wins come despite Trump spending the past several days embroiled in a GOP fight that has rival candidates and party elders, desperate to stop his march to the nomination, branding him unfit for the presidency.
"This has been an amazing night," Trump said in a victory speech.
Trump also predicted that he would win the Florida primary in two weeks against Rubio, who he called the state's "little senator" and a "lightweight."
Sanders, who is keen to challenge the growing narrative that the former secretary of state is now on track to win the nomination, hopes to halt the Clinton tide in Minnesota and Colorado, in addition to his wins in Oklahoma and Vermont.
"This campaign is not just about electing a president," Sanders said at a rally Tuesday night in Vermont. "It is about transforming America."
A total of 595 Republican delegates of the 1,237 needed to clinch the GOP nomination are up for grabs in 11 states. Sanders and Clinton are facing off in 11 states for 865 of the 2,383 delegates needed to win the Democratic race.