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Clinton, Trump set paths to nomination Tuesday

Posted: 5:41 PM, Mar 15, 2016
Updated: 2016-03-16 06:06:06Z

Tuesday marked the most significant night of the 2016 presidential race to date. Voters from Ohio, Florida, Missouri Illinois and North Carolina will hit the polls, and the stakes couldn't have been higher.

Republicans gave Donald Trump his best night of the 2016 election cycle as he had clear victories in three of the five states contested on Tuesday, and he has tentatively won in Missouri depending on if a recount is called. Ohio Gov. John Kasich was the only person to stop a Trump clean sweep by picking up his home state. 

Meanwhile, Democrat Hillary Clinton won big in Ohio, North Carolina and Florida, and has apparently come away from Illinois and Missouri with a slim margin of victory. Tuesday was an important night for Clinton as she was able to create distance from challenger Bernie Sanders in the delegate count. 

According to Associated Press projections, Trump leads the race for delegates with at 621 following his gains in Tuesday's contests. Assuming his slim margin of victory in Missouri holds, Trump could finish Tuesday with at least 655 delegates. 

Ted Cruz has 396 delegates -- but could reach 407 -- Kasich has 138 and Rubio left the race with 168.

It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination for president.

Tuesday's contests put Clinton more than half way to the nomination with her appearnt clean sweep of the Do-or-Die Tuesday states. According to AP projections, Clinton has at least 1,561 delegates, including the superdelegates who are elected officials and party leaders free to support the candidate of their choice. Sanders has at least 800. Despite his toughest night of the campaign, Sanders said from Arizona his campaign will continue. In between now and Tuesday, the GOP will have its first debate with just three men on the stage on Sunday. 

PROJECTIONS:

GOP

Florida (99 delegates at stake, winner take all): Donald Trump 

Ohio (66 delegates at stake, winner take all): John Kasich

Illinois (69): Donald Trump

North Carolina (72): Donald Trump

Missouri (52): Donald Trump

DEMOCRATS

Florida (214): Hillary Clinton

North Carolina (107): Hillary Clinton

Ohio (143): Hillary Clinton

Illinois (182): Hillary Clinton

Missouri (84): Hillary Clinton

Justin Boggs is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk.  Follow him on Twitter @jjboggs  or on  Facebook .