Clinton takes Georgia, Virginia as polls close along East Coast

(RNN) - The first polls have closed in the Super Tuesday primaries.

CNN has projected Hillary Clinton the winner in Democratic primaries in Georgia and Virginia,

Challenger Bernie Sanders has been projected to win his home state of Vermont.

Voting is being held in 12 states and one U.S. territory. In Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia there will be votes held for both Republicans and Democrats.

Only Republicans will caucus in Alaska; and only Democrats will caucus in Colorado.

American Samoa will hold a primary for Democrats.

While none of the candidates can leap a building in a single bound, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will be looking to leap above their competition in the race to the nomination.

In their two most recent contests, both front-runners had resounding victories.

Trump won the Republican caucus in Nevada with more than 45 percent of the vote. Clinton crushed rival Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, by more than 47 percentage points.

Both candidates, however, are trying to avoid political Kryptonite and convert Super Tuesday's massive chunk of delegates into a downhill run to their parties' nominations.

For Trump, it remains to be seen if his handling of a seeming endorsement from former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke will negatively affect his poll numbers, though to date, he has been impervious to gaffes and outlandish pronouncements.

The billionaire businessman and GOP front-runner was pressed more than once by CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday, but he refused to distance himself from Duke's endorsement.

"I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists," Trump said. "So I don't know. I don't know. Did he endorse me, or what's going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists."

Later, Trump blamed a faulty earpiece for his mishandling of Tapper's question. He pointed to a press conference on Friday where he did disavow Duke and his endorsement.

Trump's competition has fiercely criticized his gaffe on Duke. Sen. Marco Rubio, who has position himself as a foil to Trump's outsider status, condemned the GOP front-runner, taking to Twitter to disassociate his party with white supremacists.

Sen. Ted Cruz echoed Rubio's sentiment. He has also called on Trump to request the New York Times to release the transcript of an off-the-record interview he held with the newspaper's editorial board, in which he reportedly made comments contradicting his staunch views on immigration.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and GOP majority leader Mitch McConnell called out Trump on his KKK kerfuffel, and 2012 nominee Mitt Romney called it "disqualifying," as the Republican party hierarchy scrambled to try to derail Trump's drive to the nomination.

Cruz is perhaps the best positioned to perform well against Trump on Super Tuesday, he's projected to win Texas, his home state,, which carries 47 delegates. However, unless he clears 50 percent of the vote, he will have to split the rewards with Trump and any other candidate who receives at least 20 percent.

On the Democratic side, Clinton has retooled her rhetoric to take aim at GOP rivals and not Sanders, which indicates that she expects a strong finish on Super Tuesday after her strong showing with the black electorate propelled her to a landslide in South Carolina.

For his part, Sanders has refused to show signs of bowing out of the race. He has a narrow lead in Oklahoma, and his home state of Vermont will also cast its vote on March 1. Massachusetts is also a state where Sanders may perform well.

Clinton's use of a private email server during her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State has not faded from the news cycle. The State Department released the last set of emails from her private computer on Monday. She has appeared to be mostly immune to repercussions from the investigation surrounding the email issue during the Democratic primary.

Poll times (EST):

  • Alabama: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Alaska: 11 a.m. - midnight
  • Arkansas: 8:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
  • Colorado caucus: 9 p.m.
  • Georgia: 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Massachusetts: 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Minnesota caucus: 8 p.m.
  • Oklahoma: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Tennessee: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Texas: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. (or 9 p.m.)
  • Vermont 5 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Virginia 6 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Wyoming: Look up time for local caucus.
  • American Samoa caucus: 2 p.m.

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