Five U.S. states held primaries or caucuses Saturday to make their picks for who should represent the Democratic and Republican parties in the race to become the country's next president.
Republicans had events in four states, with front-runner Donald Trump winning two – Louisiana and Kentucky – and Senator Ted Cruz winning the other two – Maine and Kansas. Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Ohio Governor John Kasich trailed in all four states.
Cruz actually picked up more delegates Saturday than Trump, but Trump still holds the lead with 378 delegates, followed by Cruz with 295.
On the Democratic side, Senator Bernie Sanders won the Kansas and Nebraska caucuses, while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton posted an overwhelming win over Sanders in the Louisiana primary.
Clinton actually won more delegates than Sanders and maintains a significant lead in the delegate count, with 1,121 delegates compared to 479 for Sanders.
Still, Sanders said in a statement, "We've got the momentum, the energy and the excitement that will take us all the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia."
Trump, meanwhile, called his victories Saturday “an amazing night,” and said he looked forward to taking on Cruz one-on-one in such states as New York, Pennsylvania and California.
He congratulated the first-term Texas lawmaker on his wins Saturday, especially in Maine, “because it’s very close to Canada.”
Cruz was born in Canada, which Trump has suggested in the past makes the Texas lawmaker ineligible for the White House.
Trump also called on another Republican rival, Rubio, to drop out of the race.
Rubio's campaign promptly rejected Trump's call and reiterated attacks the billionaire's business record and conservative credentials.
"Trump's history as a con artist is being exposed," spokesman Alex Conant said. "Trump knows that Marco has the momentum in Florida and is afraid because he knows losing those 99 delegates to Marco will be a turning point in this race."
Rubio, who was seen as the alternative to Trump by Republican Party insiders, finished a distant third in all states except Maine, coming in fourth place behind Kasich, another favorite of party insiders.
Trump, Cruz big winners
Trump boasted that his campaign is bringing “a tremendous outpouring of voters to the Republican Party,” and said it is time for the party to “come together and stop this foolishness.”
Cruz, however, made significant gains in the delegate count with Saturday's results.
He said, "The scream you hear – the howl that comes from Washington, DC – is utter terror at what we the people are doing together," and said conservatives are "coming together ... and standing as one behind this campaign."
Republicans in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico will hold a primary Sunday.
Four more states make their choices Tuesday. Meanwhile, Rubio has been pushing for victory in his home state of Florida, which has a primary on the 15th.
On the Democratic side, Maine holds caucuses on Sunday. Two more states hold primaries for Democrats on Tuesday, including Michigan, which offers 148 delegates.
Clinton and Sanders will face off in a debate Sunday, their seventh, in Flint, Michigan. The city, which has a majority African-Americans population, is in the midst of a water-contamination crisis.
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