Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won most of their Super Tuesday contests further securing their claim over the nominations of the Democratic and Republican parties, but not enough to wrap up the race.
Clinton won seven of the 11 Democratic contests, while her only rival Bernie Sanders picked up four. On the Republican side, Trump also took seven, Ted Cruz three and Marco Rubio one.
Though the two frontrunners dominated their respective races, each conceded enough seats, and hope, to their rivals for them to stay in the race longer than they would have liked.
The next big match-up will take place on March 15 when Florida — home to Rubio and second-home to Trump — and Ohio — home to John Kasich — hold their primaries.
In fact, the battle may have moved to Florida already with three of the seven candidates — Clinton, Trump and Rubio — holding their Tuesday night victory speeches in that state.
“What a super Tuesday,” Clinton said to cheering supporters in Miami, adding, in a direct shot at Trump, “America never stopped being great. We have to make America whole.”
That was a reference to Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America great again”, and Clinton used it to plug a stock line that the Republican frontrunner was dividing the country.
Trump hit back at an event at Palm Beach resort, targeting Clinton and his rivals and addressing, at the same time, sceptics in his own party worried by his gravity-defying ascent.
“I am a unifier,” Trump told a news conference, adding it may be hard for some to agree. “Once we get all of this finished, I am going to go after one person: Hillary Clinton.”
The tone and tenor of his remarks was immediately noted as more conciliatory and more reasonable than the rabidly divisive rhetoric that has come to define his campaign.
“He’s already sanding off the rough edges, moderating the tone, and focusing on economic populism. Watch out, people,” said Jon Favreau, President Barack Obama’s former speechwriter.
Trump’s victory on Tuesday night was comprehensive — from solidly Republican southern states Georgia and Alabama to Massachusetts and Vermont in the north.
The other three states he won were Arkansas, Tennessee and Virginia, a swing state abutting the national capital that plays a significant role in deciding the general elections.
Clinton’s wins were equally significant, reflecting her hold over minority votes — African-Americans comprise a large chunk of voters in the southern states that held contests on Tuesday.
In some states, Clinton did even better than Obama in 2008. Experts said she had not inherited the Obama coalition, but may have even expanded it.
But the race is not over for either frontrunner. Sanders has vowed to stay till the end and his four Super Tuesday victories will give him no reason to pause and re-think.
Cruz with three Tuesday night wins on the Republican side, will now argue, as he has, he is the man who can stop Trump, and seek the support of anti-Trump voters and donors.
Rubio had a disappointing night with just one win, but he is banking on Florida, his home-state that primaries on March 15. A win there could give him the boost he needs desperately now.