Posted: February 12, 2008 10:26 PM
McCain Goes Three-for-Three in Potomac Primary
Arizona Sen. John McCain picked up three wins Tuesday in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia — adding to his mounting lead in front of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Hucakbee for the Republican nomination, the Associated Press projected.
In his victory speech, McCain targeted the Democratic Party, drawing differences between the two parties on taxes, individual rights, the economy and terrorism.
“They’ll paint a picture of the world in which America’s mistakes are a greater threat to our security that a malevolent enemy that despises us because of our ideals.”
McCain then turned to the duties of politicians in Washington: “They don’t send us to fight with each other for our own political ambitions but to fight together against our enemies. To keep our country free safe, prosperous and proud.”
With his wins, McCain has all but wrapped up the nomination, though Huckabee reiterated in his own speech that he will not be backing out of the race. Huckabee has continued to win support from Christian conservatives who disagree with McCain on issues such as immigration and taxes.
“The nomination is not secured until someone has 1,191 delegates. That has not happened yet. So we march on, every time we win we are ecstatic; every time we don’t win, we are disappointed but not knocked out,” Huckabee said.
In Maryland, McCain garnered a small lead among conservative voters and a large five-to-one advantage among moderates, the AP reported.
Earlier in the evening in Virginia, conservative backers of Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, showed up in large-enough numbers to prevent news networks from calling the state immediately for McCain, but the senator eventually prevailed in the state’s winner-take-all contest.
The trio of wins puts McCain further ahead in the delegate race. Unlike D.C. and Virginia’s winner-take-all contests, Maryland awards its delegates by congressional district. The candidate who garners the biggest percentage of the vote in each district wins all of its delegates.
Republican candidates must win 1,191 delegates to become the party’s nominee. Heading into Tuesday’s primaries, McCain led with 729 delegates to Huckabee’s 241, according to AP projections.