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Trump claims five-state primary sweep; Clinton wins four

US Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has swept to easy victories in all five state primaries held on Tuesday. Hillary Clinton won four Democratic contests, while Bernie Sanders won Rhode Island.

The victories put Trump and Clinton ever closer to clinching their parties' nomination for president.

Both Trump and Clinton tweeted following the results.

Though Sanders won Rhode Island, Tuesday's results were still considered a major blow to his campaign. He and Ted Cruz sought to downplay their losses, with Cruz saying he would focus on contests in more "favorable terrain," like Indiana, which holds its primary next week.

Speaking to an audience in West Virginia following the release of the first results, Sanders, meanwhile, railed against the lack of fairness in primaries that don't allow independents - many of whom support Sanders - to vote for a Democrat or Republican candidate.

Donald Trump Ted Cruz John Kasich

Cruz and Kasich announced they are joining forces in an effort to beat Trump

Hopes for a big win

While Clinton has already blown past rival Sanders in terms of number of delegates won, a five-state win on Tuesday would seemingly put the final nail in the coffin for Sanders' candidacy. Nonetheless, the Vermont senator has said he won't quit even if he doesn't win any of the races on Tuesday.

Trump, meanwhile, is still trying to pull ahead of opponents Ted Cruz and John Kasich, who in an unprecedented move this week

announced they were joining forces

in a bid to slow the New York billionaire's momentum.

Trump mocked his rivals' announcement, calling it an act of desperation. While

the brash GOP frontrunner

leads by a clear margin, he still has yet to obtain the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination and could very well fall short of that number, leaving the door open for a contested convention in June. If that happens, he could lose the nomination.

blc/jr (AP, AFP)

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