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McCain claims front-runner status; Dem race not settled

  • Story Highlights
  • McCain solidifies front-runner status
  • Clinton takes delegate-rich states
  • Huckabee, Romney vow to keep fighting
  • Obama winning more states, but Clinton winning states with more delegates
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(CNN) -- Sen. John McCain cemented his front-runner status Tuesday, piling up big wins coast-to-coast, according to CNN projections.

Democratic voters remain evenly split over which of their candidates they would rather see get the nomination.

Sen. Barack Obama won more states Tuesday, but Sen. Hillary Clinton won states with higher delegate counts.

McCain capped the night by taking California and its 170 delegates.

After having been nearly written off last summer, the Arizona senator finally felt comfortable enough to call himself the front-runner.

"Tonight I think we must get used to the idea that we are the Republican Party front-runner for the nomination of president of the United States. And I don't really mind it one bit," he said as results came in Tuesday. Video Watch McCain claim front-runner status »

On the Democratic side, Clinton took California, according to CNN projections.

While most Republican contests are winner-take-all, most Democratic contests are awarded proportionally based on the number of congressional districts won.

Clinton took the larger share of California's 370 Democratic delegates. More about delegates

"We know what we need is someone ready on day one to solve our problems and seize those opportunities," Clinton said Tuesday. "Because when the bright lights are off and the cameras are gone, who can you count on to listen to you, to stand up for you, to deliver solutions for you?" Video Watch Clinton speak to her supporters »

McCain also won Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Delaware and Arizona, his home state, according to CNN projections. Full February 5 results

McCain has gathered 514 delegates so far in his presidential campaign, including Tuesday night's projections. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has 177 delegates, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has 122. What do the results mean? »

In Georgia, Huckabee edged out McCain, who held a slim margin over Romney.

Romney got wins in Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana and Utah. See who won the popular vote in each state »

"One thing that's clear -- this campaign's going on," Romney said. "I think there's some people who thought that it was all going to be done tonight, but it's not all done tonight. We're going to keep on battling." Video Watch Romney vow to fight »

In addition to Georgia, Huckabee picked up Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and West Virginia. Video Watch what Huckabee says about Tuesday's results »

Going into Super Tuesday, the Republican race had largely been viewed as a fight between McCain and Romney.

"Over the past few days, a lot of people have been trying to say that this is a two-man race. Well, you know what? It is, and we're in it," Huckabee said as the results came in.

In all, 1,020 Republican delegates were up for grabs Tuesday. To clinch the nomination, a candidate must win 1,191 delegates.

Tuesday's contests did not produce a front-runner on the Democratic side.

"Our time has come, our movement is real and change is coming to America," Obama said Tuesday. "We are more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and always will be the United States of America." Video Watch Obama rally his supporters »

The biggest prizes that Obama won were his home state of Illinois and Georgia, and a larger share of the 288 delegates in those states.

Obama also won Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and Utah. Between those states, he would be awarded the larger share of 278 delegates. Video Watch what the early results mean »

Clinton was also projected to win her home state of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, and the larger share of the 329 delegates at stake in those states.

Clinton also won Arizona, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee, and the larger share of the 235 delegates in those states.

Republican conservative voters appear to be evenly split between Romney and Huckabee, according to preliminary exit polls of Super Tuesday voters.

Of those who voted for Huckabee or Romney, about 80 percent identified themselves as conservative, according to the polls. Video Watch why voters picked their candidates »

Only 49 percent of McCain's voters said they were conservative, a sign that the Arizona senator's efforts during the past week to placate conservative voters have not paid off.

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On the Democratic side, those who made up their mind in the past three days appear to be torn between Obama and Clinton. According to the exit polls, Obama and Clinton are essentially splitting those voters, with 47 percent going for Obama and 46 percent for Clinton. Video Watch how CNN analysts view the GOP race »

On the Republican side, front-runners McCain and Romney have engaged in bitter exchanges over their conservative records in recent weeks. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Bill Schneider contributed to this report.

All About Barack ObamaHillary ClintonJohn McCainMitt RomneyMike Huckabee

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