(CNN) - Arizona Sen. John McCain was piling up early wins in important Super Tuesday states in the Republican race for the White House Tuesday - with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee also posting multiple victories just days after ignoring calls to drop out of the race.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who had been campaigning as the only viable conservative alternative to national front-runner McCain, had posted one win - in the state where he used to govern.
McCain appeared headed to the top spots in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut and Delaware, based on early returns and results from exit polls in those states.
Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor recently written off as a spoiler by other Republican front-runners, made a strong showing early, winning the West Virginia party convention then, according to projections, handily taking his home state.
On the line Tuesday were more than 1,000 of the 1,191 delegates necessary for the Republican nomination.