McCain wins South Carolina Republican primary

mccain 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
mccain 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Sen. John McCain won the South Carolina primary Saturday night, avenging a bitter personal defeat in a bastion of conservatism and gaining ground in an unpredictable battle for the Republican presidential nomination. Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama split the spoils in Nevada caucuses marred by late charges of dirty politics. McCain called his victory in the presidential primary evidence that his campaign "can carry right through" Florida into the giant round of caucuses and primaries on Feb. 5. "I know it's not easy," he told The Associated Press, "and we've got a long way to go." The Arizona senator defeated former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in a close race in the state that snuffed out his presidential hopes eight years ago. McCain was gaining 33 percent of the vote to just under 30 percent for his closest rival. "It just took us a while. That's all. Eight years is not a long time," McCain told the AP.