AUSTIN, Texas - U.S. Sen. John McCain claimed the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday while Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama battled away.
McCain, in claiming victory after several media outlets projected him taking all four states up for grabs, called it "an accomplishment that, to more than a few doubters, seemed unlikely."
"I am very grateful for the broad support you have given to our campaign," the Arizona senator said to his cheering supporters in Dallas.
In his concession speech, Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, lauded McCain as an honorable man who ran an honorable campaign.
"I extend not only my congratulations but my commitment to him and to the party," Huckabee said, adding it was time "to unite our party and, more importantly, unite the country."
Taking Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Rhode Island gave McCain 1,205 delegates to Huckabee's 247, catapulting McCain past the 1,191 needed to clinch the nomination.
Among Texas Democrats, Obama, the senator from Illinois, and Clinton, the senator from New York, were see-sawing back and forth. With 39 percent of the vote counted, Clinton led 51 percent to 49 percent.
With 55 percent of votes counted in Ohio, Clinton was leading 57 percent to 41 percent and was projected the winner by NBC and CNN.
Obama took Vermont and Clinton grabbed Rhode Island. Obama led in the delegate count 1,399 to 1,303.
Pundits have been saying Clinton would have to score knockouts in primaries in Texas and Ohio to remain a viable contender.
© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.