Republican presidential hopeful Arizona Sen. John McCain speaks at the Hudson Institute's New York Briefing Council, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2007, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
MIAMI (AP) -- Sen. John McCain won a breakthrough triumph in the Florida Republican primary Tuesday night, edging past former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and seizing precious campaign momentum for next week's string of contests across 21 states.
"It shows one thing: I'm the conservative leader who can unite the party," the Arizona senator said in a brief interview with The Associated Press. "It's a very significant boost, but I think we've got a tough week ahead and a lot of states to come."
The victory was worth 57 national convention delegates for McCain, a winner-take-all's haul and the largest single prize to date in the race.
Rudy Giuliani was in third place, his best showing of the campaign but possibly not good enough to warrant continuing.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee trailed but told supporters he would forge on.
© 2008 The Associated Press.