Donald Trump took a step towards snatching the Republican nomination for president from the party establishment today with big wins across the Super Tuesday states.
On the Democratic side of the race, Hillary Clinton won important victories over Bernie Sanders, smoothing her path to become her party's candidate.
A Trump versus Clinton battle for the White House now appears increasingly likely.
LIVE UPDATES: Super Tuesday as it happens across the United States
In the past week Trump failed to distance himself from the Klu Klux Klan, was mocked for having bad make-up and small hands by one of his main GOP rivals and drove a sitting Republican Senator to publicly contemplate quitting the party in protest at his candidacy.
Despite this, last night, the unpredictable billionaire businessman and reality TV star who began his campaign as a fringe candidate, won seven of the 10 states up for grabs.
Texas senator Ted Cruz won his home state as well as Oklahoma and Alaska while Florida Senator Marco Rubio picked up his first victory of the campaign in Minnesota.
Cruz, Rubio and other anti-Trump Republicans are likely pinning their hopes on wrestling the nomination away from Trump Republican National Convention in July.
Voters in 13 states made their presidential picks on Tuesday. Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming all got involved.
Democrats living abroad, including those in the United Kingdom, also had their say today.
Like Trump, Clinton won seven states, picking up victories in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Arkansas, Texas, Massachusetts.
Sanders won in his home state of Vermont as well as Oklahoma, Minnesota, Colorado.
In his victory speech, Trump congratulated Cruz on his victory in Texas but was dismissive of Rubio. "He had a tough night, he spent a lot of money, he is a lightweight," he said of the Florida senator. "We're going to go to Florida, we're going to spend a lot of money in Florida."
Looking foward to the general election, Trump also targeted Clinton. "I watched Hillary's speech. Wages have been poor. She's been there for so long, if she hasn't been able to straighten out, she won't do it," he said.
Rubio tore into Trump in front of a hometown crowd of supporters in Miami. "Five days ago, we began to explain to the American people that Donald Trump is a con artist. And in just five days, we have seen the impact that it is having across the country," he said.
Also speaking in Miami, Clinton congratulated Sanders on his "strong showing and campaigning" before turning her fire on Trump.
"What a Super Tuesday!" Clinton said. "All across our country today Democrats voted to break down barriers so we can all rise together."
"This country belongs to all of us, not just those at the top, not just to people who look one way, worship one way or even think one way,” she said. "America never stopped being great, we have to make America whole, we have to fill in what's been hollowed out."Suggest a correction