Baton Rouge: Republican Ted Cruz posted two crucial wins over front-runner Donald Trump who also triumphed in two states in Sunday's multi-state vote while in the Democratic camp Bernie Sanders clawed his way back into the presidential contest with two victories over Hillary Clinton.
Clinton was jolted by Sanders in Kansas and Nebraska but the former secretary of state bounced back to easily win Louisiana, seen as the weekend's big prize.
In the Republican camp, Texas Senator Cruz scored decisive wins in the Kansas and Maine caucuses, demonstrating his enduring appeal among conservatives as he tried to reel Trump's significant lead in the Republican presidential race.
Trump, 69, contained Cruz's advances by winning in Louisiana and Kentucky.
But the Texas senator's wins were sure to energise the anti-Trump forces who are desperately trying to stop Trump's march to the nomination, and they left little doubt that Cruz, who has now captured six states, is their best hope.
However, with Sunday's result Trump and Clinton consolidated their lead in the race to the White House even as their rivals gave them a tough time by winning some key states in the multi-state 'Super Saturday' primaries.
Trump registered an impressive win in Louisiana, the home State of Indian-American Bobby Jindal, and had a narrow win in Kentucky over Cruz.
68-year-old Clinton, who seems set to be the first woman presidential nominee of a major political party, had a landslide win in Louisiana. But she lost to Senator Sanders in Kansas and Nebraska.
Senator Marco Rubio performed very poorly in all the four Republican primary states following which Trump asked him to drop out of the race.
"I have been in competition all of my life. There is nothing as exciting as this," Trump said and asked Rubio to drop out of the race following his poor performance.
"I would love to take on Ted (Cruz) one-o-one. I will win Ted one-o-one," Trump told reporters at a news conference in Palm Beach in Florida.
"Marco has to get out of the race," he said.
Trump also warned that the party establishment planning to have a third party run would be handing over the White House to the Democratic Party in a platter.
However, Cruz asserted that he is the only one who can defeat Trump and urged other candidates to drop out of the race.
"The scream you hear, the howl that comes from Washington D C, is utter terror at what we the people are doing together.
We saw on Tuesday, the Super Tuesday results that were extraordinary. And today on Super Saturday, we seem to be seeing a continuation of that very same pattern," Cruz told supporters at a rally in Idaho.
"What we're seeing is conservatives coming together," said Cruz who so far has won seven states to Trump's twelve.
First Published On : Mar 6, 2016 12:44 IST