Donald Trump romped through the second biggest day in American politics – only November presidential elections are grander – etching his name on seven trophies in the Republican party’s Super Tuesday display case.
Scroll down for full results by state.
Three states, Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska, eluded his grasp and went to Ted Cruz, a senator from the Lone Star State.
And Marco Rubio had a dismal night, claiming only Minnesota’s caucuses.
In the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton swept seven states over Bernie Sanders – a commanding performance that will settle nerves in her campaign.
But the rest of the night belonged to The Donald.
The billionaire real estate tycoon has been declared the GOP primary winner in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.
Cruz held on to claim Texas on the strength of an almost single-minded campaign strategy that ceded other southern territories to Trump.
Partly as a result, the GOP front-runner’s early victories set a blowout pace.
The tea party senator later added Oklahoma to his column in an unexpected development: Trump had out-polled him there a week ago by a dozen percentage points. And early in the morning Cruz won Alaska by 2.6 per cent.
Bragging rights will go to the senator in the year’s first ‘closed’ GOP primary, where voters were required to register as Republicans weeks earlier, could go either way.
But the front-runner Trump broke Cruz’s serve in return, winning in Arkansas despite trailing there in recent polls.
Eleven states in all hosted Republican presidential primaries or caucuses on Tuesday, and pre-election polling showed Trump with solid leads in eight of the contests.
The results will determine how many delegates who are ‘bound’ to each candidate will attend this year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Associated Press declared Trump the victor in Georgia – the first decision of the night – almost immediately after polls closed at 7:00 p.m.
With 77.2 per cent of the votes counted in the Peach State, The Donald had a 40-24 lead over Cruz, his nearest competitor. Rubio was just a hair’s breadth further back.
By 8:00 p.m. the former reality TV star had punched his nomination ticket in three more states just minutes after their polling places closed for the day.
Virginia jumped into Trump’s win column at around 8:45 p.m. Arkansas came at 10:25.
But Cruz’s two victories establish that Trump’s brand of populism hasn’t yet penetrated fully into cowboy country.
In a Super Tuesday speech, Trump congratulated Cruz on his Texas win but took a swipe at Rubio.
‘I know it was a very tough night for Marco Rubio. he had a tough night,’ Trump told a packed room of journalists and well-wishers at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.
‘He is a lightweight as I’ve said many times before.’
He blasted the first-term senator who is 25 years his junior, saying that the decision to go negative in the past week doomed his chances.
‘I always liked Marco until about a week ago when he decided to go hostile,’ Trump said as chuckles filled the room.
‘He decided to become Don Rickles, okay? But Don Rickles has a lot more talent.’
‘At least you could say that Ted Cruz has won something,’ he boomed from a gilded posium set up on a small stage in front of a row of American flags.
‘He hasn’t won anything. And he actually hasn’t come very close.’
Rubio would be named the victor in Minnesota an hour later.
After tonight’s significant win, Trump told DailyMail.com during a press conference that his string of triumphs will make it difficult for Republican Party insiders to argue that he shouldn’t be their standard-bearer.
‘I have millions and millions of people,’ he said, describing the army of peasants wielding political pitchforks on his behalf.
And as a result, he claimed, ‘the Republicans have tremendous energy. The Democrats don’t. … Their numbers are down. Our numbers are through the roof.’
‘We could win nine states today,’ Trump mused. ‘If I’m going to win all of these states with tremendous numbers, and if I’m going to come in, the worst is second, in the two or three that I might not win, I think, you know, we’re a democracy.’
‘I think it’s awfully hard to say that’s not the person we want to lead the party.’
He spoke too soon, it turned out, as he placed third in Minnesota – the one state Rubio carried.
Trump also warned that when Super Tuesday is over, ‘I’m going to go after one person: Hillary Clinton.’
He pegged much of his support to a nationwide financial crisis that’s unfolding at the level of individual households, and said Clinton’s own victory speech after her string of Democratic primary victories shows that she ‘doesn’t have a clue’ how to reverse it.
‘In her speech she just said, “They’re making less money”,’ Trump observed.
‘Well, she’s been there with Obama for a long period of time. Why hasn’t she done anything about it?’
And her record at the helm of President Obama’s state department was ‘abysmal,’ he charged, in a likely test balloon of general election messaging.
‘You look at what’s going on with Syria. You look at what’s going on with everything. It’s a disaster!’
And in a momentary detour on Clinton’s classified-email scandal, he paused and looked into the sea of cameras and reporters.
‘I don’t know that she’s going to be allowed to run. What she did is a criminal act,’ he said.
‘If she’s allowed to run, honestly it would be a sad day for this country. Because what she did was wrong. And other people have done far less than her and they paid a very, very big price.’
Ted Cruz positioned himself as the Republicans’ only viable alternative to frontrunner Donald Trump during his speech after the results came in.
‘Tonight was another decision point and the voters have spoken,’ Cruz said. ‘Tomorrow morning we have a choice.’
Cruz then said that as long as the field was still ‘divided’ – with Marco Rubio, John Kasich and Ben Carson still hanging on – ‘Donald Trump’s path to the nomination remains more likely and that would be a disaster for Republicans, for conservatives and for the nation.’
‘And after tonight we have seen that our campaign is the only campaign that has beaten, that can beat and that will beat Donald Trump,’ Cruz claimed.
Rubio went on CNN later in the evening and suggested that Cruz’s performance was underwhelming and said he wouldn’t be dropping out.
‘Tonight was supposed to be Ted Cruz’s big night, not a night where he won two states, he was supposed to have that Southern firewall and it didn’t happen,’ Rubio said.
Some of Tuesday’s races hold implications beyond the simple question of how many delegates to the summer GOP convention each candidate will control.
In the key November swing state of Virginia, for instance, pundits were watching vote totals for signs of whether a Republican nominee could challenge Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton there.
Turnout was on pace to set a new record, and Trump needed every advantage. He won by just 30,000 votes among more than 1 million cast.
Trump also scored a gold medal in Vermont.
With 93 per cent of precincts reporting, the front-running businessman won with 32.7 per cent, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich came running second with 30.4 per cent.
Rubio stood in third with 19.6 per cent, ahead of Cruz’s 9.8 per cent.
And Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon, was in the basement at 4.1 per cent – the same fifth-place position he occupied in most of Tuesday’s races.
Kasich’s rise to the number two slot in Vermont was a rare bright spot for him.
Everywhere else, Rubio and Cruz seemed to be returning to a role they learned in South Carolina: jostling for second place behind Trump.
And Trump ended the night finishing in first or second place everywhere his name was on the ballot.
Rubio’s only hope was to notch a win is in Minnesota, a state his rivals have largely ignored. And he managed to do so. The young Floridian rushed there immediately after the February 20 South Carolina primary to shore up his one beachhead.
Instead of a secret-ballot election, Minnesota holds caucuses – neighborhood meetings where voters try to persuade each other to declare their support for one White House hopeful or another.
A win anywhere for Kasich or Carson would have been a long-shot miracle, despite Kasich’s close call in Vermont.
This article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.