Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took major steps towards securing their parties' presidential nomination on Super Tuesday, securing seven states each.
Billionaire property tycoon Trump won victories stretching from Massachusetts into the deep South, adding to the momentum he's built with three straight wins in previous primaries.
He jumped ahead of his closest rivals, with Ted Cruz winning his home state of Texas, neighboring Oklahoma, and Alaska, while Marco Rubio was projected the winner in Minnesota, his first victory.
Clinton's victories were propelled by African-American voters in southern states like Arkansas, where she and former President Bill Clinton began their political careers — but she also pulled off some surprises, taking Massachusetts, the most liberal state in the country, which borders Bernie Sanders' home state of Vermont.
Sanders took comfort in a win in Minnesota, and also took Vermont, Colorado and Oklahoma.
None of the candidates has yet won enough delegates to secure their party's nomination and all the main contenders have vowed to continue the race.
VICE News was on the ground following the events as they happened.
3:57am: Cruz Beats Trump in Alaska, Ending a Long Night
As Super Tuesday faded into the early hours of Wednesday morning on the East Coast, Donald Trump's slate of victories stopped short in Alaska, where Ted Cruz edged him in the state's Republican caucuses by 36.2 percent to 33.6 percent. Though he'll only get 12 of the state's delegates to Trump's 11, the Texas senator's success in the day's final contest, which was a virtual dead heat for much of the night, added luster to his two triumphs in Oklahoma and his home state of Texas. Marco Rubio, who failed to generate sorely needed momentum despite notching his first win in Minnesota, finished a distant third in the frontier state, netting five Alaska delegates.
The single largest voting event of the primary season was a major reckoning for Trump and the GOP after he collected endorsements from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Maine Governor Paul LePage late last week and from Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions on Sunday. Super Tuesday saw him win a total of seven states out of eleven across the country, solidifying a daunting lead over his rivals for the nomination while building a sense of inevitability that was once thought improbable. Coming just days after his questionable handling of a controversial endorsement from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, Trump's wide margin of victory in such disparate states as liberal Massachusetts and Alabama, where evangelical voters dominate, demonstrated an appeal that has left the Republican establishment on its heels.
The day was equally significant for the prospects of Cruz and Rubio. The latter put on a brave face in the face of a discouraging showing, assuring a crowd of adherents in Miami that he still hopes to come out on top.
"I will campaign as long as it takes and wherever it takes to ensure that I am the next president of the United States," he said, with a view toward winning the primary in his home state of Florida on March 15.
Cruz remains in striking distance of Trump with a respectable delegate count, and his three wins on the night, in addition to his victory in Iowa's caucuses, position him as the billionaire's principal competitor. In the hope of bolstering his chances of checking the Donald's apparent march toward the Republican nomination, expect Cruz to amplify his call for the GOP field to narrow ahead of the next series of contests on Saturday and Sunday, when five more states plus Puerto Rico hold contests of their own.
"So long as the field remains divided, Donald Trump's path to the nomination remains more likely, and that would be a disaster for Republicans, for conservatives, and for the nation," Cruz remarked to a crowd of supporters in Texas this evening, presenting himself as the only viable alternative to Trump. Without naming names, he implored Rubio, Ben Carson, and Ohio Governor John Kasich "to prayerfully consider our coming together."
The coming days will show whether Cruz's entreaties can affect an aggressive race in which there has been little love lost between the candidates.
— VICE News
12:30am: Trump steamrolls through Vermont too
Donald Trump has been declared the winner of Vermont's GOP primary, marking his seventh victory of the night. Trump's win in the liberal northeastern state comes after his landslide victory in neighboring Massachusetts. Both states are further proof — not that anyone still needs convincing — that Trump's appeal stretches into all corners of the country.
Trump had led the Vermont polls ahead of Super Tuesday, so his win is not exactly a surprise. Still, John Kasich hoped to give him a run for his money with Republican voters there, who are similar ideologically to those in New Hampshire, where Kasich came in second place last month.
The only remaining race to be called tonight, is the Republican caucus in Alaska, which ended at midnight EST. Trump is expected to win there, which would bring his total wins to eight states tonight, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz with two victories and one for Sen. Marco Rubio.
— Olivia Becker
12:10am: Clinton Carries Seven, Sanders Picks Up Four. That's All for the Democrats, Folks!
Hillary Clinton's win in Massachusetts dealt a substantial blow to Bernie Sanders tonight in a state he had campaigned hard in to win. Sanders vastly outspent Clinton there in television and radio advertising, but ultimately failed to upset his rival.
Massachusetts is the most liberal state in the country and borders Sanders's home state of Vermont, which he won earlier tonight. The progressive enclave was a hotly contested battleground state and the two Democratic contenders were polling neck and neck up until the very last minute. Because the race is so close, however — Clinton currently leads by just three points with 91 percent of the vote in — the two candidates will leave Massachusetts essentially tied in delegates. Those are the numbers that really matter, since delegates are the ones who will actually vote at the Democratic convention in July to nominate one of these two candidates as the party's standard-bearer.
Sanders' loss in Massachusetts was cushioned by his simultaneous victory in Minnesota. The state marks Sanders' fourth win tonight, following his triumphs in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Vermont.
Going into Tuesday night, the media narrative around the Sanders campaign (which, to be fair, was based on polling) was that the Vermont senator would win his home state and, at best, two or three other states. In that sense, Sanders made the most of Super Tuesday, which might have otherwise severely limited his path to the nomination if he'd scored fewer victories. His four wins combined with his strong fundraising lead will propel his campaign into the next Democratic contests on Saturday.
But Clinton remains the clear winner of the night. She carried a total of seven states, many of them by upwards of 30 points, which gives her a strong delegate lead moving forward.
— Olivia Becker and Sarah Mimms
12:01am: Denver, Colorado — Sanders Wins the Centennial State
At the Bluebird Theater in Denver, Colorado, a loud cheer shot up around the room when, shortly after 9pm local time, the results for precinct caucuses were projected on a big screen above the stage. Sanders had won the state and was currently leading 58 to Clinton's 40 percent — a much needed victory after a night that saw a majority of (particularly Southern) states fall to the former Secretary of State. With about half of precincts reporting, that split rose to 59-40 shortly afterwards.
Over mouthfuls of pizza and banana-and-Nutella empanadas, Sanders supporters began chanting "Bernie, Bernie, Bernie" as a Latino band took the stage. Despite Clinton wins and projected victories in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, the mood was festive.
"Whatever happens, happens," said Sanders supporter Kevin Amsberry. "But if Bernie doesn't win the Democratic nomination, we're all going to vote for Trump," he said gesturing to the row of supporters next to him.
"I feel like our government process is like a clogged artery — we need to get all the dirt and muck out," he added. "Bernie and Trump, they have different styles, but both can ultimately just clean out the plumbing."
Erika Andiola, an organizer for Sanders in Colorado who was charged with rallying the Latino vote in Nevada for the campaign, noted that the win in Colorado was especially significant, given the state's large Latino and Hispanic population (roughly 21 percent, according to Census Bureau data).
"Around 80 percent of our staff here are Latino," she said. "We won Colorado and Minnesota, so we're doing well with the Latino vote."
"Bernie should run for the president of Mexico if he doesn't win here," a nearby supporter joked.
— Liz Fields
11:25pm: Rubio Picks Up His First Win in Minnesota
Marco Rubio has been declared the winner of the Minnesota Republican caucuses by the Associated Press.
Minnesota is the first primary state that Rubio has won and it's a face-saving victory for the Florida senator, who risked ending Super Tuesday still winless. But it's unclear whether this bit of success will do much to help the Florida senator's lagging campaign. Donald Trump has just won six primaries tonight, and Sen. Ted Cruz has nabbed two. Both called on Tuesday night for Rubio to get out of the race, though Cruz did not mention Rubio by name.
Rubio's victory speech — which he actually delivered in Miami before his win in Minnesota was announced — was not even aired on CNN, which was busy covering victory speeches being delivered by Trump and Cruz.
In his remarks, the senator nonetheless projected a lot of confidence about his campaign going forward.
"We are so excited by what lies ahead for our campaign," he told a crowd of supporters.
Despite Trump's series of wins on Tuesday, Rubio insisted that his recent attacks on the businessman, whom he has called a "con artist" who is trying to take over the Republican Party, are beginning to work, arguing that his campaign is gaining ground as Trump's poll numbers begin to fall.
"And two weeks from tonight, right here in Florida, we are going to send a message loud and clear," Rubio affirmed — though he currently trails Trump by double-digits in his home state.
In an interview with CNN late Tuesday night after his speech, Rubio insisted that his campaign will soon gain traction and viability, even after being asked repeatedly if he was in denial about his campaign.
"Tonight was supposed to be Ted Cruz's big night. We never said we were going to win on Super Tuesday," Rubio said, noting that Cruz had won only two states.
Rubio argued that his campaign would pick up hundreds of delegates tonight, given that all of the Super Tuesday states assign their delegates proportionally. He added that his campaign is looking forward to March 15, when some states, including large ones like Rubio's home state of Florida, will begin delivering all of their delegates to the candidate with a majority vote.
Speaking of Trump, Rubio remarked, "I will go through all 50 states before I stop trying to save the Republican Party from someone like him."
— Sarah Mimms and Olivia Becker
10:56pm: That's Six Now For Trump. Here's Where We Are…
Not long after he finished speaking in Florida this evening, Donald Trump was named the winner of the Arkansas Republican primary.
There are still three contests outstanding on the Republican side: the Alaska caucuses, which have not yet ended (thank you, four-hour time difference), as well as the Minnesota caucuses and the Vermont primary. Trump leads Ohio Gov. John Kasich by just a single point in Vermont right now, with 74 percent of the votes in, while Sen. Marco Rubio, who is looking to get on the board tonight with his first win in 2016, leads in Minnesota with just over half of the votes counted. Trump is in third place in Minnesota, behind Sen. Ted Cruz.
Democrats are still waiting on results in Massachusetts, which remains incredibly close — Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by just two points with nearly three-quarters of the vote in. Sanders holds double-digit leads in both the Colorado and Minnesota caucuses at the moment, but those states are just beginning to turn in their results, so those numbers could soon change.
— Sarah Mimms
10:55pm: Cruz Lays Into Trump During Victory Speech
In case anyone was still left wondering, Sen. Ted Cruz's victory speech confirmed that this election really is all about Donald Trump. Cruz took the stage in his home state of Texas tonight to deliver a chest-thumping victory speech that centered almost entirely on Trump and his shortcomings.
"So long as the field [of candidates] remains divided, Donald Trump's path to the nomination remains more likely," Cruz boomed early in his speech. "And that would be a disaster for Republicans, for conservatives, for the nation."
Cruz spent much of the night going after the Republican frontrunner, who is currently steamrolling through the Super Tuesday Republican primary states. Cruz has been critical of Trump in the past, but his singular focus in attacking Trump tonight raised the bar, in part because Cruz is now trying to solidify his position as the party's main Trump alternative.
Cruz reminded the crowd that he is the only GOP candidate to have beaten Trump in a primary battle — which he has now managed three times — before rattling off all the ways in which Trump was less of a true conservative than he was. Cruz lambasted Trump for supporting Obamacare, Planned Parenthood, a path to citizenship for immigrants, and the TARP bailout of the Wall Street banks. All of which, Cruz insisted, he has vehemently opposed.
"Head-to-head, our campaign beats Donald Trump resoundingly," said Cruz, with his usual rhetorical flair. "But for that to happen we must come together. And the Republican primary voters in upcoming states, you too have a choice."
Cruz said that Republicans can either "nominate a proven conservative who has fought consistently for working men and women and has fought constantly to defend the Constitution."
Or, Cruz added, Republicans can pick a candidate who is "vulgar and profane" and "whose words would make you embarrassed if your children repeated them."
Cruz has currently won two states tonight — Oklahoma and Texas — compared to Trump's six. He also defeated Trump in the Iowa caucuses last month.
The Texas senator quoted former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt by saying, "In our nation's darkest hours, FDR told us that we have nothing to fear than fear itself." It was clear that Cruz's "darkest hour," at least, was the hour of Trump.
— Olivia Becker
10:10pm: Trump, After Five Wins Tonight: "I Feel Awfully Good"
It should come as no surprise that Donald Trump, the big winner on the GOP side tonight, opened his victory speech with a side shot at Sen. Marco Rubio, calling him a "lightweight" and emphasizing that the senator has had a "tough night".
And a tough night it has been for Rubio, who has yet to win a state in this primary election season. Trump, meanwhile, has five wins under his belt so far this evening, bringing his total to 8 victories overall in this primary season.
"I feel awfully good," Trump said at a press conference at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida this evening.
Trump congratulated Sen. Ted Cruz on his win in Texas, after a week of attacking the candidate. Cruz has taken two contests this evening: his home state and Oklahoma. But that's small compared to Trump's wins so far.
"Ted at least has a shot because at least he's won a little bit," Trump said, in another shot at Rubio. Later he added: "You've got to be able to win."
After launching into aspects of his stump speech, which he gives at all of his campaign stops, Trump took questions from the press — an unusual move on a primary night. Asked about comments from Republican politicians that he is damaging the party, Trump pointed out the support he's seen from Democrats and independents. ""We've actually expanded the party. … We're going to be a much bigger party," he said.
At least two reporters brought up how Trump would get along with Congress as president, citing House Speaker Paul Ryan's criticism of his failure to disavow an endorsement from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Trump said he didn't know Ryan well, but expected to get along with both Congress and the speaker. "And if I don't, [Ryan is] going to have to pay a big price, okay?" he said.
Trump then turned to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, against whom he expects to face off in November, bringing up the issue of her Department of State emails several times during the press conference and questioning whether she would even be allowed to participate in the general election.
"If she's allowed to run, honestly it'll be a sad day for this country," Trump said. "Because what she did was wrong … and other people have done far less than her and they've paid a very, very big price."
Trump was also asked about his views on Planned Parenthood, which he has praised despite criticism from conservatives. Rubio, who supports banning abortion even in the cases of rape and incest, has run television ads attacking Trump on the issue.
Women's health is "very important to me," Trump said Tuesday night. "Maybe that's not a perfectly conservative view," he added, but argued that he is "more conservative" than the other candidates on issues of the military, veterans, Obamacare, building a wall on the Mexican border and getting rid of Common Core education standards.
"I am a truth-teller and I will tell the truth," he added.
— Sarah Mimms
9:35pm: Sanders Wins Oklahoma, His Second Victory Tonight
Bernie Sanders has been declared the winner of Oklahoma's Democratic primary, which was a crucial state for the Vermont senator to win and one of his biggest victories of the night so far. Oklahoma was one of the key battleground contests that the Vermont senator was hoping to take from Hillary Clinton.
Oklahoma was one of the tightest Super Tuesday states for the Democrats. Sanders has been campaigning hard and spending a massive amount of resources there in an effort to overtake Clinton. Tonight it became clear his efforts paid off. In January, Sanders was trailing Clinton in the polls in Oklahoma by 25 points but he managed to close that gap almost entirely by mid-February.
Sanders' victory in Oklahoma was a decisive race to demonstrate that his appeal can extend outside of the liberal northeast states of Vermont and New Hampshire. But the state is still overwhelmingly white, like the other states Sanders has won so far. Clinton's advantage with African-American voters, and to a lesser extent Hispanic voters, has propelled her to victory in Nevada, South Carolina and now several southern states tonight.
Sanders has now won two Super Tuesday states, after picking up his home state of Vermont earlier in the evening. Hillary Clinton has won six states so far.
— Olivia Becker
9:30pm: Clinton Takes Veiled Jab at Donald Trump During Victory Speech
After claiming a decisive victory in five primary states tonight, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton addressed cheering supporters at her campaign headquarters in Miami, Florida. During her speech, she actually won a sixth, the biggest state on the map tonight: Texas.
Those big wins put Clinton on a steadier path to the nomination, though Bernie Sanders has also managed to wrest Oklahoma and his home state of Vermont away from her tonight. Clinton, for her part, seems to be focused on the general election already. She spoke in Florida, which will vote on March 15 and will be an incredibly important state to both parties in November. Donald Trump was preparing to speak at his home in the state just minutes later.
Clinton thanked her volunteers and Sanders before taking the opportunity to call out the Republican frontrunner, Trump, who is also currently leading his party in the Super Tuesday primaries, although she did not name him directly.
Clinton echoed lines she's used at recent campaign rallies about Trump, saying that America doesn't need to be made "great again," referencing Trump's campaign slogan, but: "America never stopped being great!"
Clinton also called out the rhetoric on the Republican side for being divisive and said that the tone of debate "has never been lower."
"Trying to divide America between us and them is wrong," she said. "We're not going to let it work."
Clinton exited the stage to cheering and chants of Hilary! Hilary! Hilary!
— Olivia Becker
9:20pm: Cruz Hands Trump His First Losses of the Night in Texas and Oklahoma; Clinton Also Wins Texas
Sen. Ted Cruz has defeated Donald Trump in his home state of Texas. This is the second time Cruz has toppled Trump (the Texas senator also won the Iowa caucuses) and the first loss for Trump tonight.
Just moments after Cruz was predicted to win Texas, where Trump had threatened recently to eclipse him, the race in Oklahoma was also called for Cruz. The Texas senator, who has been fighting to compete man-to-man with Trump since his win in Iowa, now has three victories under his belt overall and is the only candidate in the Republican primary to have defeated Trump anywhere.
Cruz has increasingly made the case that he is the best man to take on Trump, and his wins would seem to support that theory. But many in the Republican party like him even less than the fiery New York businessman, meaning that there may still be room in the primary race — at least in terms of party funding — for Sen. Marco Rubio or even Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, also won the state of Texas, giving her a sixth win tonight out of the 11 states that are voting for in the Democratic contest tonight. Clinton's win was announced while she was on the stage in Florida, thanking supporters for what continues to be a big night for her campaign. Clinton has lost only one state to Sanders so far — his home state of Vermont.
Texas has the most delegates to allocate this evening of any state, so these wins are very significant for both the Clinton and Cruz campaigns.
— Sarah Mimms
9:05pm: Donald Trump Wins Virginia, Big Loss for Marco Rubio
Donald Trump has won the Republican primary in Virginia, dealing a huge blow to the so-called "establishment" candidates running to dethrone him as the party's frontrunner, particularly Sen. Marco Rubio.
Trump had led in recent polls in the state, but Virginia — especially the wealthy, liberal and more populous suburbs near Washington, DC — were seen as Rubio's best chance to pull in a victory over the frontrunner this evening. Rubio made four campaign stops across the state this week, more than any other candidate.
Rubio has not yet won a primary or caucus this cycle. He is expected to come in second place in Virginia and currently trails Trump by five points with 84 percent of the vote counted. Rubio will still pick up some delegates in Virginia if the race remains close, but his chances of taking first place in another state tonight are slim.
Virginia marks Trump's fifth win tonight of the eleven states that are voting in the Republican primary this evening.
— Sarah Mimms
9pm: Trump Wins The Most Liberal State in the Country
In addition to being known for its hyper-devoted sports fans and brutal winters, Massachusetts is also renowned for being the most liberal state in the country. Which is why Donald Trump's victory there tonight in the Republican primary has left many people puzzled. Soon after Trump was crowned the winner, the state Democratic party released a statement shaming Massachusetts' Republican governor Charlie Baker over his failure to stop Trump.
"As reasonable Republicans in Massachusetts and across the country sound the alarm about Trump's Super Tuesday victories, voters are disappointed that Gov. Baker raised $300,000 to try and take over the Republican State Committee rather than stand up to Trump's politics of fear," Massachusetts' Democratic chairman Tom McGee said.
Many residents expected a more establishment candidate, such as Marco Rubio or John Kasich, to be the Republican winner instead.
"It's hard for me to see why anyone supports [Trump]," said Justin Thompson, a Republican voter who lives in Boston and works for a Republican state representative. "Especially Massachusetts voters who have a history of electing pretty sound Republican candidates." Thompson said he voted for Rubio.
Elliott Hamilton is a law student in Massachusetts who also voted for Rubio. He called Trump a "fraud" and said that he doesn't know "a single principled conservative who supports him."
"I'm going to do everything else I can to convince my friends across the country to support [Rubio's] campaign or to campaign against Trump," Hamilton said.
Not only did Trump manage to win Massachusetts, early exit polls show that he trounced his closest rivals — Kasich and Rubio — by more than twenty points. The fact Trump was able to claim victory there is perhaps the best proof of his ability to find support throughout the country, including in its most liberal enclaves.
8:43pm: Hillary Clinton Wins Arkansas
Hillary Clinton's home state of New York isn't voting tonight, but Arkansas, her adopted home where she served as first lady for eight years, has delivered her fifth win of the evening.
Clinton's victory in Arkansas is no surprise. She and Bill Clinton, who served as the state's governor and attorney general, remain extremely popular in the state. Arkansas will divide just 32 delegates between Clinton and Sanders depending on the final vote count, which isn't much compared to many other states voting this evening. But as with Sanders' win in Vermont earlier this evening, the victory has a strong symbolic significance for her campaign.
Arkansans just finished voting at 8:30pm and the Republican race there remains far too close to call, although Trump holds an early and slim lead.
— Sarah Mimms
8:05pm: Trump, Clinton Scoop Up More Primary Victories
Donald Trump has been declared the winner of the Republican primaries in Alabama, Massachusetts and Tennessee. He also won Georgia earlier tonight, bringing the total number of Super Tuesday states he has won tonight to four.
For the Democrats, Clinton has won Alabama and Tennessee, according to CNN projections. She also now has four states under her belt, after winning Virginia and Georgia earlier in the evening.
— Olivia Becker
7:30pm: Sanders Speaks in Vermont, Vows to Stay in Race
Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was in Essex Junction, Vermont, this evening, took the stage at 7:30pm to thank a raucous crowd of home-state supporters for his victory there, his first of the evening.
"You know, I have been all over this country but it is great to be home and see all of my friends," Sanders said, adding that although "we want to win in every part of the country" it meant a lot to him that "the people who know me best, the people who knew me before I was elected … have voted so strongly to put us in the White House."
Sanders pushed back on the media narrative of the evening — that his underdog status on Super Tuesday will translate to problems down the road or even, as some have suggested, the end of his campaign. Sanders promised to bring his message to all 35 states that have not yet voted, vowing to stay in the race to the end.
He reassured the crowd that since the states that are voting today award their delegates proportionally rather than on a winner-take-all basis, "by the end of tonight, we are going to win many hundreds of delegates."
Sanders also took a moment to counter a mounting attack from Hillary Clinton's campaign: that his ideas are too pie-in-the-sky to become reality.
"I know that Secretary Clinton and many of the establishment people think that I am looking and thinking too big. I don't think so," Sanders said to huge applause. "So let me go on the record and say as you have heard me say for years, health care is a right for all people. And let me also say that in the United States of America when we talk about public education, it's not just first grade through twelfth, it's got to be expanded to make public colleges and universities tuition-free."
Clinton has repeatedly in recent weeks highlighted her own long-standing position on health care, telling supporters in Virginia yesterday that "before there was something called Obamacare, there was a something called Hillarycare."
She has also been highly critical of Sanders' higher education plan, saying that college should be made free or less expensive only for those who need it — not for all. Clinton's plan would make two-year college free, while working to make four-year schools "debt-free" for students who need it. Clinton told supporters in Virginia Monday that "people who can afford [college] should pay," adding that she wouldn't tax Americans in order to "send Donald Trump's youngest child" to college for free.
"Our message is resonating," Sanders added Tuesday night. "The people, when they stand together, will be victorious." Shouts of "I love you Bernie!" echoed from the crowd.
Sanders is beloved in Vermont and was widely expected to win there. It remains to be seen though if that momentum can translate to the other dozen states who are also holding their primary contests today.
— Sarah Mimms and Olivia Becker
7:05pm: Winners Declared in First Super Tuesday Primary States
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have won the Republican and Democratic primaries, respectively, in Georgia. Clinton also won Virginia and Sen. Bernie Sanders won his home state of Vermont. Early projections show Trump also leading there.
Votes are just now coming in from some of the Super Tuesday states, but exit polls and early results show that Clinton, Trump and Sanders will carry these states.
These victories, though expected, are important. Sanders is the clear underdog in the Democratic primary contests tonight and carrying his home state will be one of the bright spots for his campaign this evening.
Georgia, meanwhile, could be big for both Clinton and Trump in their quests for their parties' respective nominations. Georgia carries the second-highest number of delegates of any of the states voting tonight, behind Texas (Massachusetts is tied for second for Democrats only). But because all of the states tonight will hand out their delegates proportionally, the other candidates could pick up some delegates there tonight as well.
— Olivia Becker and Sarah Mimms
6:30pm: Exit Polls Show Overwhelming Support for Muslim Immigration Ban Among Republican Voters
Voting booths don't even close until 7pm in the earliest states, but preliminary exit polls already show some interesting patterns among voters.
One of the most striking trends is among Republican voters who overwhelmingly favor a ban on Muslim immigration to the US.
According to CBS News exit polls, 78 percent of Republican voters in Alabama support temporarily banning Muslims who are not US citizens from the country. Support for the ban was lower in other states, but not by much. In Georgia, the Muslim ban had 69 percent support, while in Tennessee it was 72 percent and in Virginia, 64 percent.
This broad-based support for a Muslim ban mirrors similar sentiments expressed in the primary states that have already voted — 65 percent of Republican voters in New Hampshire supported a similar measure and 75 percent of Republicans in South Carolina said they did as well.
— Olivia Becker
6:00pm: Clinton, Trump Acting as If They've Already Won.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are expected to do well on Super Tuesday. So well, in fact, that they seem to have moved on.
Trump has moved on in a literal sense. He spent this afternoon in Kentucky, which won't vote until Saturday, in between stops in Ohio and Florida, which vote on March 15. Typically candidates skip victory parties in states they will lose; Trump is moving on because he is that confident that he is going to win. At 9pm, Trump isn't holding a victory rally with supporters, but a press conference at his home.
Clinton, meanwhile, is spending the day doing last-minute get out the vote efforts in Super Tuesday states including Minnesota before also heading to Florida for an election night event this evening.
But Clinton in particular seems to be setting herself up for the general election already. Clinton spent the day before Super Tuesday in Virginia where she hardly mentioned Sanders at all, instead focusing on her ability to defeat Republicans in November.
As she has since her win in South Carolina last week, Clinton warned supporters at an overflow event at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, that Donald Trump will likely be the Republican nominee. Clinton hammered Trump for, among other things, "insulting people" and "insulting their religion[s]."
The next President of the United States, she argued, will need to create a coalition with Islamic nations take to on ISIS and Trump's comments on Muslims have put him in a poor position to do that.
"I'm looking forward to those [general election] debates," she said, "because at some point you can't just say whatever pops in your head if you want to be president of the United States of America."
— Sarah Mimms
4:45pm: Carson Calls for Fellow Republicans to Tone It Down
The tone of the race on the Republican side has gotten plenty aggressive enough for Dr. Ben Carson, the soft-spoken neurosurgeon who has tried his best to stay above the fray. Carson today is calling for a time out.
In a statement released this afternoon, Carson called for a meeting of all five GOP candidates before the next debate on Thursday to discuss the "sophomoric attacks" now dominating the race.
"This race has taken a turn for the worse, to the point of embarrassment on the world stage," Carson said in the statement. "[It is] imperative for the Republican Party to exhibit unity by the candidates coming together with a pledge to talk about the many serious problems facing our country, instead of personally attacking each other."
It remains to be seen if any of the other GOP candidates will agree to such a meeting or just continue ignoring Carson altogether. After all, this is coming from the candidate who asked to be attacked in the last debate, just so people would remember he was still there.
— Olivia Becker
4:15pm: Donald Trump Insists His Hands Are 'The Most Beautiful'
The rhetoric between the Republican presidential candidates has fully descended to the level of a schoolyard squabble. Today, Donald Trump defended himself against a recent jab from Marco Rubio by insisting that his hands are not small — as Rubio suggested at a recent campaign rally — but beautiful.
"He said I have small hands — I'm actually 6 feet 3 inches, not 6 feet 2 inches — but I've always heard people say, 'Donald, you have the most beautiful hands,'" Trump said at a rally in Columbus, Ohio.
"My hands are small, I know / But they're not yours / They are my own" pic.twitter.com/UZlt4sWQ1k
— Andrew Kirell (@AndrewKirell) March 1, 2016
Trump's clarification today about his allegedly beautiful hands was in response to a remark Rubio made about the frontrunner on Sunday.
"He's always calling me 'Little Marco.' And I'll admit he's taller than me. He's like 6 feet 2 inches, which is why I don't understand why his hands are the size of someone who is 5 feet 2 inches," Rubio told supporters at a rally in Virginia on Sunday. "And you know what they say about men with small hands? You can't trust them."
If this election was slightly more typical, the leading presidential candidates might not be spending the days leading up to Super Tuesday defending themselves from attacks about the length of their fingers. But this election has been anything but typical, so perhaps it's not surprising that Trump and Rubio have been busy trading insults about each other's appearance in the week leading up to the most important day of the primary election.
The small hands squabble has also provided fodder for jokes by everybody from actual comedians to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who tweeted a picture of his hand on Tuesday. John Oliver repeatedly needled Trump about his hands during the latest segment of his HBO show.
Since the beginning of the race, Trump has made it clear that pretty much nothing is off-limits when it comes to insulting his rival candidates. He made headlines last fall for criticizing Carly Fiorina's face and called Jeb Bush's campaign "low-energy," — a label that stuck. None of the candidates have seemed eager to respond to Trump in kind — perhaps out of fear that no one can match Trump when it comes to the art of the insult — but Rubio now seems to be embracing that strategy.
Trump has called Rubio "weak" and "sweaty" and said he has "the biggest ears I've ever seen." Rubio, in turn, has also shot back at Trump for his unique skin color, which he has argued is a bad spray tan.
"Donald is not going to make America great," Rubio said last week. "He's going to make America orange."
— Olivia Becker
3:30pm: Trump Leads Google Searches Today, Followed by "Drumpf"
According to a new election tracker tool launched by the AP, Google, and Twitter, these were the most searched candidates across the country on Super Tuesday:
Donald Trump carries a big lead followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders in a distant second. Ohio Gov. John Kasich is the least-Googled candidate competing in Super Tuesday contests today, but he's seen the largest spike in interest in the last day.
Interestingly, the New York Times points out that "Donald Drumpf" actually leads Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in Google searches over the last 24 hours. Drumpf is Trump's original family name, a fact pointed out by John Oliver on his HBO show this past weekend. Oliver devoted his main segment to mocking Trump, calling on fans of the show to "Make Donald Drumpf Again".
— Sarah Mimms
2:55pm: Ahead of Likely Losses, Sanders Argues He's Better-Suited to Challenging GOP Candidates
As Sen. Bernie Sanders prepares for a rough night on Super Tuesday (with a few potential bright spots), his campaign blasted out a new CNN poll showing that he fares better than Hillary Clinton does in match-ups against the Republican candidates.
Both Democratic candidates would defeat frontrunner Donald Trump in a head-to-head contest, though Sanders bests him by 12 points compared to Clinton's eight, according to the poll. But while Sanders defeats Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, by 17 and 8 points respectively, in these hypothetical contests, Clinton loses to both of the Republican candidates. Cruz would best Clinton by a single point, according to the poll, while Rubio holds a 3-point lead on the Democratic frontrunner.
One of the oddities, among many, this cycle is that Sanders has consistently polled more strongly against the Republican candidates than Clinton has in recent polling. And yet, the argument of electability seems to focus entirely around her campaign. These are, to be fair, very early numbers and thanks to the electoral college national polling is a pretty imperfect system of gaming out how a general election match would actually go. But these are still some strong numbers for Sanders and they represent an argument he hasn't used much on the campaign trail so far.
2:30pm: Clinton's Southern Firewall
Super Tuesday is sometimes referred to as the SEC Primary — a head nod to Southern college athletics — because of the large number of states in the South that will vote today. Among them are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia — states where Hillary Clinton is projected to fare well, after her performance in South Carolina (she won by 50 points), largely thanks to a high turnout from African-Americans. Clinton won 86 percent of black voters in South Carolina just last week.
However, there is one Southern state where the candidates are close: Oklahoma.
Last week, a Monmouth University poll put Sanders ahead in Oklahoma by 5 points — a small victory and turnaround from November, when he polled at a 35-point disadvantage to Clinton. In a press release, the Monmouth pollsters noted that part of Sanders's traction in Oklahoma may be because of the state is majority white. At least 75 percent of likely Democratic voters surveyed were non-Hispanic white.
"The best chance for Sanders seems to be in places with largely white Democratic electorates," pollster Patrick Murray told the Oklahoman newspaper. "Unfortunately for him, the most delegate-rich Super Tuesday states have significant numbers of minority voters."
— Liz Fields
2:10pm: Cruz and Sanders Vote for Themselves. Protesters Compare Trump to Hitler.
While the Bernie Sanders campaign isn't known for early morning events (barely any rallies or town halls are ever scheduled before 10am), the senator woke up bright and early this morning to cast his ballot at a community center in his adopted hometown of Burlington, Vermont.
"I will tell you after a lot of thought, I voted for me for president," Sanders said with a smile after taking selfies with several voters at the site.
Sanders is heading into Super Tuesday with 65 delegates nationally compared with Clinton's 90. The Democratic candidates today are battling over several key states where the race is tight, including Massachusetts where 91 delegates are up for grabs and Minnesota, which has 77.
Sen. Ted Cruz voted a few hours later, casting his ballot in Houston at approximately 11:30am local time. Cruz was accompanied by one of his daughters who joined him at the voting booth with a large white bow in her hair.
Cruz joked on Monday night that he had in fact already made up his mind on who he'll support for president, telling reporters: "I think we're going to have a very, very good day in Texas."
Cruz is counting on a victory here to stem the tide of expected victories by frontrunner Donald Trump in other contests this evening. Cruz holds a lead in polling in Texas, but that has been slipping lately.
Cruz was greeted outside his polling place by signs and posters comparing Trump to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party.
— Liz Fields and Sarah Mimms
2:00pm: As Joe Biden Would Say, This Is a Big F***ing Deal.
Welcome to Super Tuesday, the most important day in the 2016 presidential race so far. 12 states will vote today, giving out just under half of the delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination and about one-third of the delegates necessary for the Democratic nomination.
Today is also a big day for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, in particular, who hold significant leads in a majority of the states that are voting. Voters will cast their ballots in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia tonight.
Clinton holds major leads in the South, where six states are voting tonight, given both her history as first lady of Arkansas and her strong support in the African-American community. Sen. Bernie Sanders has few shots at outright wins tonight outside of his home state of Vermont and a close race in Massachusetts. But because all of these states will deliver their delegates proportionally, close contests could keep Sanders from falling too far behind Clinton. And the caucus states of Colorado and Minnesota could hold some surprises as well.
Trump, meanwhile, holds double-digit leads in a majority of the states in which Republicans are voting tonight. Texas is one bright spot for the anti-Trump crowd, where Sen. Ted Cruz has long held a lead; it's his home state. That lead has shrunk in recent weeks, but there's a good chance he'll hold on to the state and prevent Trump from sweeping the board entirely. The race is also close in the caucus states — Alaska and Minnesota — which are notoriously unpredictable, and the Arkansas primary is also close with Cruz showing a small lead in recent polling.
With so many delegates up for grabs and both Clinton and Trump holding strong leads, tonight's contests will give both parties a better sense of who their nominee may be. Super Tuesday won't likely be the end of this primary campaign; some large states with big delegate counts won't vote until later (we're looking at you California, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York). But if Clinton and Trump hold on to their leads in these states tonight, it's going to be difficult for other candidates to catch up.
— Sarah Mimms
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Reuters contributed to this report