John McCain has consolidated his frontrunner’s status in the Republican Party after a successful Super Tuesday. But he was unable to deliver a knockout blow to his rivals Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee who remain in the race.
Already backed by party moderates, McCain will be hoping to spread his appeal further across the board.
“There remains genuine ideological rifts within the Republican Party,” said political analyst Tom Mann.
“McCain is the very likely nominee but this battle will go on.”
The conservative Republican vote appears to be split between Mormon Mitt Romney and former Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee.
Super Tuesday was disappointing for Romney. But, drawing on support from his evangelical base in the South, Huckabee did better than expected.
It has raised speculation he could be a future vice presidential nominee, if John McCain gets to go for the top job. The idea is that Huckabee would help McCain by providing the conservative credentials that some say the veteran senator lacks.