They Still Love Huck and Paul
In most cases, winning nearly 73 percent of the vote would be considered a blowout. But for Senator John McCain it could be cause for concern, given that he has been the presumptive Republican nominee for more than a month now.
Mr. McCain won every county in Pennsylvania in the Republican primary Tuesday — yes, the Republicans had a nominating contest there, too — but former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (who dropped out of the race in March) and Representative Ron Paul of Texas did surprisingly well in some of its most conservative counties.
Overall, according to The Associated Press’s count, Mr. Paul took 15.9 percent in the Pennsylvania G.O.P. primary, with 11.3 percent of Republicans voting for Mr. Huckabee.
Mr. McCain’s worst showing was in Juniata County, near the center of the state. He received only about 59 percent of the vote, while Mr. Paul took nearly 28 percent. In 2004, President Bush won Juniata with 72 percent of the vote.
Mr. Bush had his biggest win that year in southern Fulton County, with 76 percent of the vote. Mr. McCain picked up 71 percent there, but Mr. Huckabee had 21 percent, his highest percentage in the state.
“It’s probably just people that have been loyal supporters for the last year or so,” said Sarah Huckabee, the former candidate’s daughter, now spokeswoman for Huck PAC, his political action committee. “I don’t think it shows a lack of support for Senator McCain.”
Mr. Paul, who conceded in March that victory in the “conventional political sense is not available” in the G.O.P. primary, hails from Pittsburgh, and he made four stops in the state.
Tucker Bounds, Mr. McCain’s spokesman, said the Pennsylvania results were “absolutely not” cause for concern. He said the campaign saw “positive trends” Tuesday, including strong support from the party’s base and “openness” from conservative Democrats to his candidacy.