Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton clinched a series of primary victories in the biggest night of voting for the US presidential nominations.
Trump and Clinton each won four states on Super Tuesday, when 12 states were voting, Reuters reported.
Trump won Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts and Tennessee, while Clinton won Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia.
Opinion polls heading into the voting showed Trump leading in nearly all of the 12 states 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.
Exit polls indicated that Virginia, Vermont and Oklahoma were too close to call for Republicans as balloting ended in those states, networks said.
For Democrats, Massachusetts and Oklahoma were too close to call.
Clinton, the former secretary of state, hoped to win enough states to take a big step toward wrapping up her nomination fight with rival Bernie Sanders, a democratic socialist senator from Vermont.
Sanders won his home state of Vermont, one of five states he was hoping to capture on Tuesday.
He thanked cheering supporters in his hometown of Burlington, Vermont, and took a shot at the Republican front-runner.
“We are not going to let the Donald Trumps of the world divide us,” Sanders said, adding that he expected to pile up “hundreds” of convention delegates in voting on Tuesday.
Super Tuesday is the biggest single day of state-by-state contests to select party nominees for the Nov. 8 election to succeed Democratic President Barack Obama.
Voting stretches from eastern states to Texas and Minnesota, with the first polls closing at 7 p.m. EST (8 a.m. Wednesday in Hong Kong).
With a string of victories on Tuesday, Trump would expand his strong lead over Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Ohio Governor John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
Opinion polls showed Cruz could pull out a win in his home state of Texas. Voting with his wife in Houston, Cruz said he hoped Republicans would see a narrower field emerge on Wednesday.
“For any candidate that wakes up tomorrow morning who hasn’t won any states … I think it’s time to start thinking about coming together and unifying and presenting a clear choice,” said Cruz, the only Republican to win a state contest besides Trump to date.
On the Democratic side, opinion polls showed Clinton, who has won three of the first four Democratic contests, with a big lead in six Southern states that have large blocs of black voters, who have been slow to warm to Sanders.
In addition to his home state of Vermont, Sanders had been aiming for wins in four other states on Tuesday – neighboring Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Minnesota and Colorado.
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