Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump: Podesta a 'nasty guy' Trump's growth projections leave economists in disbelief Eric Trump poses with woman in anti-Trump shirt MORE and Ted CruzTed Cruz56 memorable moments from a wild presidential race Is Georgia turning blue? Five takeaways from money race MORE split big delegate prizes in Arizona and Utah on Tuesday night, further raising questions over whether the long-time front-runner can avoid a contested convention.
Trump posted a huge victory over Cruz and John Kasich in Arizona’s winner-take-all primary, giving him all 58 of the state’s delegates.
Because Cruz stayed above 50 percent there, it turned the caucuses into a winner-take-all contest in which he bagged all 40 delegates up for grabs, giving Trump a net gain of only 18 delegates on the day.
On the Democratic side, Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump: Podesta a 'nasty guy' Trump's growth projections leave economists in disbelief What would a Hillary Clinton presidency look like? MORE routed Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump: Podesta a 'nasty guy' Sanders’ brother loses British parliamentary election America’s Eastern European mess MORE in Arizona – the biggest delegate prize of the night. The Vermont senator posted huge victories of his own at smaller caucuses in Utah and Idaho, meaning that they’ll essentially split the 131 delegates up for grabs in those three states.
But the bulk of the political intrigue remains on the Republican side, where the possibility of a contested convention continues to hang over the race.
Trump soundly defeated Cruz in Arizona to win the 58 delegates there. As of 6:15 a.m., with 92 percent of precincts reporting, Trump was taking 47 percent support and doubling-up his rival in a state where many believed Cruz would be competitive.
Trump faced huge protests in the waning days of the race there. Cruz was supposed to do better in a state where his ground game was unmatched and only registered Republicans could vote.
But Cruz may have been damaged by the long early-voting period in the Copper State. Many Republicans cast ballots for Florida Sen. Marco RubioMarco Rubio56 memorable moments from a wild presidential race New York Times endorses Rubio's rival Rubio: GOP Congress could go in different direction than Trump MORE before he dropped out last week.
But even with all of Rubio’s supporters in his corner, Cruz still would have fallen short to Trump. Ohio Gov. John Kasich came in below Rubio. Trump was close to matching the votes for Cruz, Rubio and Kasich combined.
Still, Cruz may have gone a long way to forcing a contested convention with a clutch performance at the Utah caucuses.
Delegates there are awarded proportionately unless a candidate surpasses the 50 percent mark.
Cruz, with the help of the state’s most visible Republicans - 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, Gov. Gary Herbert and Sen. Mike LeeMike LeeDonald Trump's Mormon PR problem Trump's big worry isn't rigged elections, it's GOP establishment GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election MORE among them – took a strong majority in the state.
Cruz took home all 40 of Utah’s delegates, and just as importantly, keep Trump from getting any.
Trump finished the night with 739 delegates, followed by Cruz at 465 and Kasich at 143.The Ohio governor did not win any delegates on Tuesday night.
A candidate needs 1,237 delegates to win the nomination outright.
That means Trump would have to win 55 percent of the remaining 902 delegates up for grabs. Many believe it will take him until the last day of votes in June if Trump is to win the nomination outright.
Cruz would have to win 86 percent to reach the magic number, while Kasich has no path to winning the nomination outright.
The Ohio governor had very little impact on Tuesday’s contests, and Cruz supporters have called on him to drop out, believing he’s cutting into their candidate’s support.
But Kasich chief strategist John Weaver shot back in a memo on Tuesday, saying the Ohio governor is the last line of defense to stop a Trump nomination.
Weaver argued that Kasich is a better bet than Cruz to collect delegates in contests in upcoming states in the Northeast, Pacific Northwest and Midwest.
“John Kasich must continue to fight Donald Trump for delegates in order to prevent Trump’s reaching 1,237, and despite his protestations, Ted Cruz is not going to achieve that magic number either,” Weaver said.
Both appear to only be playing for a contested convention at this point.
On the Democratic side, little changed after Tuesday’s elections.
Sanders won big in Utah and Idaho, two states with small delegate prizes that have large populations of white, liberal voters.
Sanders won the Idaho caucuses 78 percent to 21 percent. As of 6:15 a.m., with 81.5 percent of precincts reporting, Sanders led Clinton in Utah 79 percent to 21 percent.
Clinton, meanwhile, racked up big margins Arizona, the biggest delegate prize of the night. As of 6:15 a.m., with 92 percent of precincts reporting, Clinton led there 58 percent to 40 percent.
The net result won’t move the needle much in either direction, as the candidates will essentially split the 131 delegates up for grabs.
Because Clinton entered the night with a big lead in delegates, she’ll remain the prohibitive favorite to win the nomination.
The state of the race could be summed up by the speeches the candidates gave while votes were still being counted.
At a rally in San Diego, Sanders continued to attack Clinton on the issues he’s hammered her on throughout the campaign. Meanwhile, at a rally in Seattle, Clinton shifted her gaze to potential general election counter-parts on the Republican side.
Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said on CNN that they intend to keep “chipping away,” but acknowledged it would be difficult.
“It’s not an easy path, but it’s never been an easy path,” he said.
--This report was updated at 6:15 a.m.