March 4th, 2008
10:30 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain wins GOP nomination, Huckabee withdraws

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. John McCain clinched the GOP presidential nomination Tuesday, according to CNN projections."]
DALLAS, Texas (CNN) - Sen. John McCain accepted the mantle of presumptive GOP nominee for president, thanking his supporters in Rhode Island, Texas, Ohio and Vermont - states he won Tuesday night to take him over the top in delegates.

"I am very, very grateful and pleased to note that tonight, my friends, we have won enough delegates to claim with confidence, humility and a great sense of responsibility, that I will be the Republican nominee for president of the United States," the Arizona senator said.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee quit the presidential race after it became clear that McCain would win the Republican nomination, after winning Tuesday's GOP primaries.

"It's now important that we turn our attention not to what could have been or what we wanted to have been, but now what must be - and that is a united party," Huckabee told supporters in Dallas, Texas, after losing Tuesday's primary in Texas and three other states.

Huckabee, a former Baptist pastor, thanked volunteers for "keeping the faith" and told them, "I'd rather lose an election than lose the principles that got me into politics in the first place."

"Tonight, I hope that our battle was never about us," he said. "It was about our country and our liberty. And now we join with Sen. McCain and the rest of our party to continue that battle."

Huckabee drew first blood in the GOP race, winning the January 3 Iowa caucuses, and won several Deep South states in the February 5 "Super Tuesday" contests. But he struggled to gain traction outside the region, while McCain won big states like New York and California handily and swept Tuesday's contests in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Huckabee's exit leaves anti-war Texas congressman Ron Paul, a former Libertarian presidential candidate, as McCain's sole remaining opponent.

McCain's campaign - his second run for the White House - was largely written off for dead last summer amid outspoken opposition from the party's conservative base, a major staff shakeup and disappointing fund-raising.

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Filed under: John McCain • Mike Huckabee
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Hillary For Ohio NOT Obama!

    Hillary is the True Winner NOT Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 4, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  2. Houston

    This is the election we will all look back on years from now and say: "How on earth did we not elect Mitt Romney?"

    March 4, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  3. JohnQPublic

    Many believe the GOP has taken the final step in sealing their doom by first betraying and then deserting the very voters who put them in power.

    The irresponsible spending and corruption during the last eight years topped off with the nomination of a man who knows only war and who fails to practice those things that he espouses leads me to agree with them.

    March 4, 2008 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  4. Kevin

    I am a republican conservative. But I'd rather vote democrat than support McCain.

    March 4, 2008 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    if hillary wins, I will fervently support McCain...he is like a slightly older Obama, or rather he is a maverick rather than a rockstar

    March 5, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  6. Daniel


    March 5, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  7. Tom, California

    I miss Romney. I will always be annoyed with Hickabee for spoiling his campaign.

    Do Romney and McCain hate each other too much for me to hope that Mitt could still be V.P.? Somebody has to turn this economy around.

    March 5, 2008 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  8. Seekster

    Im a Conservative, McCain is a Moderate, Obama and Hillary are socialists. If you dont think im voting for McCain then you are an idiot.

    March 5, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  9. AMN

    Ugh, he looks like my Biodiversity Lab professor. I don't like McCain, he's cold hearted.

    March 5, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  10. AJ, Iowa City, IA

    This is huckabee's long overdue exit? Come on Huck I thought you'd be the spoiler forever! What gives?

    March 5, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  11. ginger

    Hucks kids won't be able to sign up for the draft because the military doesn't want the rejects.

    March 5, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  12. Huckabee for Presidential Candidate as Independent

    OK. NY Mayer, here's your Independent candidate to spend your $1Billion.

    March 5, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  13. Kathy, Andover

    FINALLY!!! Huckabee, don't let the door hit you in the butt on your way out!

    March 5, 2008 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  14. arkie in Little Rock

    Thank you, Jesus! Get you behind us, Huckster.

    March 5, 2008 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  15. Samantha

    Kevin if you're swayed that easily you were never a conservative republican to begin with.

    March 5, 2008 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  16. Janet Mitchell, Las Vegas, NV

    What are all of these so-called "base conservatives" angry with McCain about?
    It is so strange. He seems fairly harmless.

    I would love to be able to vote for Obama in November, but if it's Hillary against McCain, I will probably choose to vote for him.
    At least he's not part of a dynasty.

    Our democracy was not meant to be handed off, back and forth between two families.

    March 5, 2008 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
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