McCain holds off GOP field for S.C. win

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump's America fights back Mellman: Trump can fix it GOP strategist Steve Schmidt denounces party, will vote for Democrats MORE (Ariz.) was projected to win the South Carolina Republican primary Saturday night, emerging victorious from a tight race with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

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It was McCain’s second triumph in a major GOP nominating contest this year. The senator had also won the New Hampshire primary.

The win in South Carolina, where the race was too close to call for much of the evening, is doubly sweet for McCain. A tough loss here against then-Gov. George W. Bush practically ended the senator’s first White House run in 2000.

For Huckabee and former Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.), the loss could be viewed as devastating as the state has a large, socially conservative base. Their inability to emerge victorious here could spell trouble for them.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigned sparingly in South Carolina. However, he won the Nevada caucuses earlier Saturday.