WASHINGTON (AP) — It was a big night for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, while Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz won home-state hurrahs and a bit more. But there was no shockwave Super Tuesday — and a shock is what it will take, and soon, if alternatives to the presidential front-runners are to have any hope.
Clinton won Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, Texas, Massachusetts and Arkansas, the state her husband, Bill, served as governor on his way to the presidency.
Sanders won Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma and home-state Vermont, maintaining a credible challenge to Clinton in the Democratic race but failing to broaden his appeal with minority voters who are crucial to the party in presidential elections.
Trump took Alabama, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Georgia, Virginia, Arkansas and Vermont, showing geographic breadth in 2016's first truly national contest and cementing a Republican front-runner status he's held for months, first in polls, now in results.
Ted Cruz won Oklahoma as well as his home state, Texas, and Alaska. Marco Rubio, the long-promising but underachieving mainstream hope of the Republican Party, won Minnesota for his first victory of the 2016 campaign.
Clinton and Trump both won a majority of Super Tuesday delegates.
Her wins in seven states earned her at least 457 of the 865 delegates at stake for the evening. Sanders was on track to win at least 286. Including superdelegates, Democratic insiders who can choose any candidate, Clinton now has at least 1,005 delegates in the overall AP delegate count, with at least 373 for Sanders. It takes 2,383 to win the Democratic nomination.
With results in, Trump had won at least 203 Super Tuesday delegates, while Cruz picked up at least 144. Overall, Trump leads the Republican field with 285, Cruz has 161 and Rubio 87. It takes 1,237 delegates to win the GOP nomination
Clinton has won at least 10 states since the nomination contests began, with Sanders victorious in at least five.
Among Republicans, Trump has won at least nine states, with three for Cruz and one for Rubio.
HOW THEY WON
Clinton dominated again with older people and generally cut into Sanders' support among the 30-to-44 crowd. Sanders had a clear advantage with only one age group: his devoted under-30 followers.
Trump and his rebel yell against the status quo attracted nearly two-thirds of voters looking to install an outsider in the White House. Those who cared more about political experience split about evenly between Rubio and Cruz, according to early results of exit polls.
For all the endorsements, money and attention rallied behind Rubio as the GOP's only hope to stop Trump, he had yet to win a state before Tuesday and he remains short on time to stage a turnaround.
His home state will be a battleground royale on March 15, with part-time Floridian Trump running hard to knock him out of the race and avenge the lacerating taunts coming almost constantly from the senator since the last debate.
In six states (Texas, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Arkansas), large majorities of Republican primary voters expressed support for temporarily banning all non-citizen Muslims from entering the U.S., a Trump proposal, according to early results of exit polls.
But Republican voters were more divided on another of his contentious ideas, to deport all people who are in the U.S. illegally. The proposal won majority support only in Alabama, among seven states where that question was asked of GOP voters.
WHY IT MATTERS
Immigration policy, the swollen U.S. debt, the uneven spread of wealth and hard questions about how to approach the Islamic State, terrorism and civil liberties are all in play for voters.
So is the fate of fundamental social policy as the Supreme Court stands ideologically divided. A vacancy may not be filled until after the next president takes office in January.
TEXAS AND THE SOUTH
The South enjoyed more influence in this campaign because of several states added to the Super Tuesday roster, giving this subset the nickname "SEC primary," a nod to the Southeastern Conference of college sports. Clinton once again demonstrated her pull with black voters, as she did in overwhelming fashion in South Carolina over the weekend.
The biggest Super Tuesday state overall was Texas, where Cruz prevailed with his home-state advantage, prime endorsements from the governor down the political chain and a veritable army of some 27,000 volunteers. And Texas delivered a large cache of delegates to Clinton.
Associated Press writers Phillip Marcelo in Boston, Betsy Blaney in Lubbock, Texas, and Jay Reeves in Helena, Alabama, contributed to this report.