CHARLESTON, S.C. - Arizona Sen. John McCain has won the Republican primary in South Carolina. It was a hotly contested race that was too close to call at times.
"Thank you, my friends, and thank you, South Carolina, for bringing us across the finish line first in the first-in-the-south primary," McCain said during his victory speeech.
Click play to hear McCain thank his supporters in South Carolina
The win for McCain is one that eluded him in 2000 against George W. Bush.
"It took us a while, but what's eight years among friends," he said.
With 97 percent of the precincts reporting, McCain won with 33 percent of the vote to former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee's 30 percent.
"The path to the White House is not ending," Huckabee said during his concession speech.
A wintry mix of rain, snow and sleet throughout parts of the Palmetto State was a concern for both McCain and Huckabee. The unusual nasty conditions contributed to a low voter turnout.
"Thank you especially, for braving the very un-South Carolina like weather today to exercise the first responsibility of an American," McCain said.
McCain's bid for the presidency was all but considered dead just a few months ago, but his recent win in the New Hampshire primary brought renewed life to efforts.
McCain took his "Straight Talk Express" bus around the country telling people, what he said was the truth.
"I know that before I can win your vote, I must earn your respect," he said. "And the only way I know how to do that is by being honest with you. I have tried to do that throughout this campaign."
Many expect the win in South Carolina to give him the boost needed to win Florida where former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is staking his claim. Florida votes on Jan. 29.
On Monday, McCain will make a series of appearances in Miami and Jacksonville, Fla.