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The BBC's Rob Watson reports from Phoenix
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Senator John McCain's victory speech
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Wednesday, 23 February, 2000, 11:47 GMT
McCain back in the race

McCain is calling on Republicans to join his campaign

In another major upset in the US Republican Presidential race, Senator John McCain has beaten George W Bush in the Michigan and Arizona primaries after rallying a coalition of independent and Democratic voters.

We are creating a new majority, my friends - a McCain majority - and we are Al Gore's worst nightmare
Senator John McCain
The Michigan victory for Mr McCain is a major breakthrough for the senator who risked losing early enthusiasm for his candidacy after defeat in South Carolina at the weekend.

Although Governor Bush attracted a clear majority of Republican voters, the number was not enough, providing an embarrassing setback for the man who believed that a decisive victory here would deliver a knock-out punch to the Arizona senator.

"As I look more electable, we'll start drawing more Republicans," said Mr McCain, who received just a quarter of his party's vote.

And, reaching out for the Republican voters who had backed Texas Governor Bush in large numbers, he said: "Don't fear this campaign, my fellow Republicans. Join it."

The campaign now moves on to New York and California where voters go to the polls on 7 March - known as "Super Tuesday".

But in these two important primaries, only Republicans will be allowed to vote - unlike Tuesday's primary where all registered voters were allowed to participate.

Primaries will also be held in 10 other states on 7 March.

After congratulating the Arizona senator for his win, Governor Bush said: "He's going to learn in the long run that it's Republicans and like-minded independents who are going to make the decision in the Republican primaries," including California on 7 March.

Georege W Bush Governor Bush: winning among Republicans
The Arizona Senator used Tuesday's victory speech to touch on some of the traditional Republican issues.

"I love the Republican party. It is my home. I want to rebuild our military, strengthen families, protect the unborn and cut your taxes. Use the surplus the right way, fix Medicare, pay down the debt," Mr McCain said.

'Borrowing voters'

After the vote, there was much debate over Mr McCain's victory.

Michigan Results
With 97% of the vote counted
John McCain 50%
George W Bush 44%
Alan Keyes 4%
Other 2%
"We've never seen a candidate like John McCain who went out to rent Democrats for a day," Michigan Governor John Engler, a Bush supporter, argued as the results were tabulated.

"John McCain isn't party building, he's party borrowing and there's a big difference," he said. Bush himself asked Republicans not to allow Democrats to dictate their choice.

But supporters of Mr McCain argue that non-Republican support makes him a stronger candidate against the Democratic nominee in November.

Michigan awards 58 delegates on a proportional basis. The winner in Arizona receives all of the state's 30 delegates to take to the Republican party convention at the end of July.

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See also:
23 Feb 00 |  Americas
Analysis: McCain's comeback
23 Feb 00 |  Americas
Voters reject plan for internet curbs
04 Jan 00 |  Profiles
John McCain: Ready-made war hero
04 Jan 00 |  Profiles
George W Bush: Out of his father's shadow
20 Feb 00 |  Americas
Bush wins South Carolina
20 Feb 00 |  Americas
McCain fights on
20 Feb 00 |  Americas
Conservatives reject radical option
07 Jan 00 |  States
07 Jan 00 |  States

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