Phoenix: Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton Wednesday knocked down another barrier by winning in Arizona presidential primaries but the frontrunners lost out in Utah to their nearest party rivals who kept their chances alive as the race to the White House gathered steam.
The former reality star, Trump, and former secretary of state, Clinton, routed Bernie Sanders and Texas Senator Ted Cruz by notching up victories in the key western state of Arizona as they solidified their front-runner status in their parties for the November 8 presidential elections.
However, just a couple of hours later, the next-in-line to the nomination in both the parties - Vermont Senator Sanders and Texas Senator Cruz - received a huge morale boost by clinching much-needed victories in Utah's presidential caucuses.
Victory of the 69-year-old real estate tycoon kept his momentum rolling despite concerted efforts by party establishment to thwart the billionaire's presidential aspirations.
"Much bigger win than anticipated in Arizona. Thank you, I will never forget!"
"Thank you, Arizona," Trump tweeted.
Clinton tweeted: "Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who are working so hard for our campaign. You're knocking down barriers."
With an impressive win in Arizona, Trump grabbed all the 58 delegates at stake in the State, thus, increasing his total to 739 delegates and further increasing the gap on delegate count with his main Republican presidential primary rival Senator Ted Cruz who has a delegate count of 425. To win the Republican presidential nominee, Trump needs 1,237 delegates.
He needs to win 52 per cent of the delegates in the rest of the Republican primaries. So far, the real estate tycoon has won 19 States as against Cruz's victory in eight States so far.
In Arizona, Clinton's sole rival Senator Sanders had polled 36.8 per cent of the votes as against more than 60 per cent by the former Secretary of State.
Clinton currently has 1,670 delegates, which includes 1159 won by her in various States and 467 super delegates who have pledged their support to her. Sanders has 886 delegates including 829 won in State primaries and caucuses.
The one with 2,382 delegates, would be declared the Democratic presidential nominee.
In Utah, media reports projected Cruz as the winner with about 70 per cent of the vote, with Ohio Governor John Kasich at 16 per cent and Trump at 13 per cent.