Trump, Clinton take AZ; Sanders, Cruz notch caucus wins

Takeaways from Arizona, Idaho & Utah primaries
Takeaways from Arizona, Idaho & Utah primaries   

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and businessman Donald Trump — Democratic and Republican presidential front-runners, respectively — continue to face stiff challenges on the road to their parties' conventions.

Tuesday saw voters in three western states enter the fray.

Trump and Clinton were projected to win their parties' Arizona primaries by NBC News. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, meanwhile, was the projected winner in the Utah and Idaho Democratic caucuses. Ted Cruz was the projected winner of the GOP's Utah caucus, according to NBC.

Polls ahead of the contests indicated Trump was likely to win in Arizona, and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was the GOP favorite in Utah.

One key question for the evening is whether Cruz could capture 50 percent of the Utah vote over Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, which would garner him all 40 of the state's delegates.

On the Democratic front, pundits have contended that Sanders would likely win Idaho (27 delegates total) and Utah (37 delegates). Arizona, which offers 85 delegates in total, had looked potentially more favorable for Clinton: One recent poll showed her with a double-digit lead over Sanders.

Overall, Clinton entered the evening with 1,583 delegates to Sanders' 868 (including so-called superdelegates), according to NBC News. A Democratic presidential hopeful needs 2,383 delegates to secure the party's nomination.

With 1,237 needed for an uncontested GOP nomination, Trump began Tuesday with 686 delegates to Cruz's 428 and Kasich's 143, according to NBC.