McCain Grabs Frontrunner Crown With Florida Win

Momentum shadowed by some concerns
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2008 4:27 AM CST
Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., receives a hug from his wife Cindy at the Florida primary celebration in Miami, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2008. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – GOP hopeful John McCain won in Florida last night by pulling together the same coalition that worked for him in New Hampshire and South Carolina: moderates, voters concerned about the economy, and those most disenchanted with Bush. Romney campaigned on "fixing Washington" but McCain is the candidate with a long history of being the anti-Bush "maverick," writes Real Clear Politics. What's impressive is that he did so in a closed Republican primary—with no input from McCain-loving independents.

A man written off as finished six months ago now seems to have an unstoppable momentum, points out the Washington Post, predicting that he'll finish the job on Super Tuesday. Yet Florida was no crushing triumph, as McCain acknowledged in his victory speech. Mike Huckabee's siphoning away of support from Mitt Romney was an important factor for a McCain win, writes the Chicago Tribune; Mitt's tenacity, his checkbook, and his appeal to conservatives will make him a tough contender.