It is a result that throws the race for the Republican party’s presidential nomination wide open. Mitt Romney has revived his White House hopes, scoring his first primary victory in the US state of Michigan, after only second-place finishes up to now.
“Tonight marks the beginning of a comeback, a comeback for America,” he told jubilant supporters. “Only a week ago, a win looked like it was impossible but then you got out and told America what they needed to hear.”
It was a convincing win for Romney, who has close local connections in Michigan where his father was governor. His triumph puts the brakes on rival John McCain, who had hoped to build on his victory in New Hampshire. But the former Vietnam war prisoner remained upbeat, as he addressed those backing his campaign.
“Well, my friends. Thank you, all my friends. For a minute, there in New Hampshire, I thought this campaign might be getting easier but, you know what, we have gotten pretty good at doing things the hard way, too, and I think we have shown them we don’t mind a fight and we are in it.”
A distant third, Mike Huckabee is gearing up for Saturday’s vote in South Carolina. An ordained Baptist preacher, he hopes to attract evangelical Christians in the same way they turned out to give him victory in Iowa.
So, three big contests have produced three different winners, with other Republican candidates, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, still staking their claims.