John McCain won California and a string of other big Super Tuesday primaries to take a commanding lead in the GOP race, NBC News reports. He also won New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Delaware. Mitt Romney carried his home state of Massachusetts as well as Utah, North Dakota, Colorado, Alaska, and Minnesota. Mike Huckabee showed signs of life in the South, taking Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
McCain scored hundreds of delegates by nailing big winner-takes-all states, the Washington Post notes, but by failing to carry more than half of the night's contests, he looked weaker than expected in pulling the party behind him. Huckabee's surprising surge in the South, and Romney's failure to capture key states, gave the Arkansas governor enough traction to stay in the race. “You know, over the past few days a lot of people have been trying to say that this is a two-man race,” he told supporters in Little Rock, “Well, you know what? It is. And we’re in it!”