Revitalised but broke, McCain soldiers on for battle of Michigan

Looking energetic and refreshed after just four hours' sleep, John McCain, the winner of the New Hampshire primary took his upstart political campaign to the Great Lakes state of Michigan in a borrowed plane.

Almost out of cash, Mr McCain, at 71, would be the oldest person to win the presidency should he secure the nomination and go on to be elected next November. His is a David versus Goliath struggle, in which the biggest guns of the Republican establishment have been shaken up by a campaign so broke it almost folded its tent and gave up a few months ago.

Independent-minded and proud of the US military, New Hampshire voted to keep one of the biggest enthusiasts for the war in Iraq in business. On his journey west yesterday morning, the Vietnam war hero and Arizona senator was plotting the next stage of his insurgency with his small team of unpaid but battle-hardened volunteers.

New Hampshire and Michigan are just way marks in what has developed into an extremely crowded and tight race, in which the Republican base has yet to coalesce around a popular front-runner. There remain four credible candidates for the nomination and all that can be counted on is that only one will remain standing after 5 February, when 22 states hold their primaries on one day – so-called Tsunami Tuesday.

In Michigan, Mr McCain's biggest opponent is Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor is still a formidable opponent, despite two consecutive setbacks, or "silver medals" as the organiser of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics described his second-place rankings in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Mr Romney commands a huge war chest, powerful organisation and has the added advantage of being a famous native son whose father was a three-time governor of Michigan. A defeat there would severely dent the son's chances of the nomination.

Mr Romney now pins his hopes on Nevada's large Mormon population to throw him a lifeline when the state holds its caucus on 19 January. Because the population is widely dispersed, his deep pockets will be able to finance an advertising blitz that will be hard for his rivals to compete against.

As Mr Romney demonstrated in New Hampshire, he is a made-for-TV candidate, with looks from central casting and a sharp debater's mind. He is expected to cross the finishing line first in Nevada, further confounding predictions of who the presidential nominee will be in what has become the tightest Republican race in decades.

Republicans in South Carolina vote on the same day as Nevada holds its caucus, and there, Mr Romney's Mormon faith is expected to be a major hurdle.

The guitar-playing preacher-turned presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who won the first primary in Iowa, is leading in South Carolina where his Baptist faith is strong among black and white voters and the Mormon Church is distrusted.

As a former governor of the southern state of Arkansas, Mr Huckabee can also play the anti-Yankee card against Mr Romney a former governor of Massachusetts. He won 40 per cent of the black vote when he was elected governor of Arkansas.

Florida, the fourth-largest state in population terms, which votes on 29 January, may be the wild card for the Republicans. The former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has been roundly beaten in each race so far, has staked his future on winning the Sunshine State with its large population of retirees from the North-east. If he loses there to either Mr Huckabee or Mr Romney his campaign could be over.

Then they go on to Florida, on 29 January, before heading to the biggest challenge of all on Tsunami Tuesday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Accounts Executive

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for the ...

Recruitment Genius: Team Administrator / Secretary - South East

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time Administrator/Secreta...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US