John McCain reclaimed the ever-elusive momentum in the GOP race tonight with a narrow victory over Mike Huckabee in South Carolina, the State reports. McCain got 33% of the vote to Huckabee's 30%. Fred Thompson, for whom South Carolina was a make-or-break state, finished a distant third (16%), just ahead of Mitt Romney (15%). The former Massachusetts governor won the Nevada caucuses earlier in the day.
"We are well on our way tonight," said McCain, who battled with Huckabee for the state's large conservative base. "I feel very good about our chances." Huckabee praised McCain for the clean campaign and said his strong showing proved the race is "far from over." Next up for the GOP is Florida on Jan. 29. Waiting there will be Rudy Giuliani, who has shunned the early primaries and staked his campaign on a Florida win.