John McCain won the GOP primaries in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC, tonight. The Arizona senator enjoyed comfortable wins in Maryland and DC, but he got a run for his money in Virginia from Mike Huckabee. The former Arkansas governor made it a tight race with enthusiastic backing from conservatives and evangelicals, who make up 68% and 40%, respectively, of GOP voters in Virginia, CNN reports.
The narrow win in Virginia, a conservative bellwether, demonstrates the challenge ahead for McCain in uniting the Republican Party around his candidacy, despite an apparently unbeatable lead in delegates. With nearly all returns in, McCain led 50% to 41% in Virginia, 68% to 17% in DC, and 55% to 30% in Maryland. He told supporters he's "fired up" to face the Democratic winner, while Huckabee again vowed not to drop out.