McCain declares himself front-runner in GOP race - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather

McCain declares himself front-runner in GOP race

PHOENIX, Ariz. (AP) - Republican presidential hopeful John McCain says he's never minded the role of the underdog, but that it's time to embrace the fact that he's the front-runner for his party's nomination.      

McCain, speaking to supporters in Arizona, says his wins in places like New York, Illinois and Oklahoma shows that he's a little bit closer to the nomination. He added that he was confident that he was "going to get there."      

The Arizona senator, however, failed to seize full control of the Republican race by not winning more states in the South, which proved to be strong territory for former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.      

McCain is ahead early in delegate-rich California, leading former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with 11 percent of precincts reporting.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)