Last summer his campaign was struggling. Many had written his political obituary. But John McCain is back, with a convincing win in New Hampshire. At 71, he is now firmly in the running to be the Republicans’ presidential candidate.
“You know, I am past the age when I can claim the noun ‘kid,’ no matter what adjective precedes it,” he told his delighted supporters. “But tonight, we sure showed ‘em what a comeback looks like.”
The result is a big blow for Mitt Romney, who once enjoyed a commanding lead in the New Hampshire polls. A well-funded campaign only earned him second place.
It makes the next battle in Michigan on Tuesday all the more crucial if the multi-millionaire Mormon’s hopes of representing the Republicans are to remain alive.
Baptist preacher-turned-politician Mike Huckabee went from victory in Iowa to a meagre third place in New Hampshire, well behind his rivals.
But he was not expected to do well there and will now be looking to consolidate his campaign elsewhere.
Still lurking in the background is former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. His low-profile strategy so far is being questioned by some.
But he is hoping for a surge, after courting Florida, which votes at the end of the month, and big states like New York and California which vote on so-called “Super Tuesday” on February the 5th.