Super Tuesday takeaways: Winners, losers & questions

Super Tuesday big for front runners
Super Tuesday big for front runners
Trump's 'Amazing evening'
Trump's 'Amazing evening'
Clinton: Make America whole again
Clinton: Make America whole again

Super Tuesday — the series of primaries and caucuses that will help decide the Democratic and Republican candidates for president — featured strong showings from both parties' front-runners.

Real estate magnate Donald Trump was the projected or apparent winner of at least seven states and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton notched seven projected victories. But many of their competitors scored results that will keep their campaigns afloat — meaning that contests over the weekend (and those all the way through to Ohio and Florida on March 15) will likely be contentious.

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is accompanied by his wife Jane as he arrives on stage at his Super Tuesday rally in Burlington, Vermont March 1, 2016.
Sanders surprises with 4 projected wins: NBC News

Cruz remains a thorn in Trump's side

Trump had hoped he could win the home state of Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz — the only candidate who had beat him in a pre-Super Tuesday contest.

But the winner of the Iowa caucus carried Texas, and even outperformed his polling averages by taking Oklahoma from Trump. In an interview with MSNBC after those projected results, Cruz suggested he was the only candidate capable of defeating the real estate magnate, but he shied away from calling on others to drop out.

For his part, Trump twice mentioned Cruz's Texas victory in his own Tuesday address. "I want to congratulate Ted on the winning of Texas, he worked hard on it," Trump said. "I know how hard we worked actually, so I congratulate Ted Cruz on that win, it was an excellent win."

Rough night for Rubio

Trump had less kind words, however, for the other senator challenging him for the Republican nomination. In addition to celebrating his win over Florida's Marco Rubio in Virginia, he also highlighted polls showing he is likely to win the Sunshine State later this month.

"I know it was a very tough night for Marco Rubio — he had a tough night," Trump said Tuesday. "He worked hard, he spent a lot of money — he is a lightweight as I've said many times before. But you know what? We're going to go to Florida, we're going to spend so much time in Florida."

Rubio, who was the projected winner in the Minnesota caucus on Tuesday, his only win so far, attempted to strike an optimistic note, saying he is "so excited for what lies ahead for our campaign."

But that road ahead will be challenging for his campaign. An apparent favorite of Republican leadership, Rubio has only been able to secure one outright state victory with his endorsements and big donations.

Trump wins big on Super Tuesday, but rivals fight on

Sanders shows resilience

Some in the media had begun to write off U.S. senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, but he secured four wins on Tuesday night. In addition to his home state of Vermont, he was also projected to win Colorado, Oklahoma and Minnesota. Clinton had polled ahead of Sanders in two out of three recent Oklahoma polls, and there was little data about how the candidates would fare in Colorado.

In Oklahoma, Sanders nabbed 55 percent of the white vote, while Clinton took 36 percent, according to NBC News exit poll data, which showed that 74 percent of Oklahoma voters said they were white. Sanders was also victorious among voters without a college degree, which comprised a slight majority among total voters in the state.

Sanders' win in Minnesota is all the more impressive for the fact that Clinton received an endorsement from the state's biggest paper, the Star Tribune, and its governor, Mark Dayton.

Sanders also surprised many in Massachusetts. Entering Tuesday, Clinton was leading Sanders in the state, according to recent polls, but Sanders managed to keep the race close.

But Clinton still wins big on delegates

Despite Sanders' two wins, Clinton came out victorious in Georgia and Texas, the two Democratic states offering the most delegates on Tuesday. As of 11:46 p.m. ET, Clinton led Sanders 828 to 248 in total delegates, according to NBC News. A candidate needs a total of 2,383 in order to win the nomination.

Clinton also continued to dominate Sanders among African American voters Tuesday, winning the African American vote in almost every state.