MIAMI -- John McCain won the Florida Republican primary tonight beating Mitt Romney 36 to 31 percent, with 95 percent of the precincts reporting.
Entering his election night victory party to the "Rocky" theme, McCain took to the stage with Florida Governor Charlie Crist and Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla. who both endorsed McCain within the last few days during his campaign in the state.
"Thank you Florida Republicans for bringing a former Florida resident across the finish line first," he said. "Our victory might not have reached landslide proportions but it's sweet nonetheless."
McCain addressed his Republican rivals in his speech with consoling words for Romney and his camp and complimented Mike Huckabee, who placed fourth behind Rudy Giuliani, on a passionate and graceful campaign.
"This was a hard fought election and worth fighting hard for. But I've been on the other side of such hard contests before and experienced the disappointment. I offer my best wishes to Governor Romney and his supporters, who fought hard for your candidate and the margin that separated us tonight isn't big enough for me to brag about or for you to despair," he said.
"Governor Huckabee and his supporters as always brought to this campaign, conviction and passion and something we don't always have enough of in this contests, good humor and grace."
While this primary day buzzed with rumors of Giuliani dropping out of the race - and eventually word came that he will do so tomorrow and endorse McCain - he gave Giuliani a shout-out that sounded like a goodbye.
"And I want to thank my dear friend Rudy Giuliani. He invested his heart and soul in this primary and who conducted himself with all of the qualities of the exceptional American leader he truly is. Thank you Rudy for all you've added to this race and for being an inspiration to me and millions of Americans," McCain said.
"In one week we will have as close of a national primary as we ever have and I intend to win it and be the nominee," McCain said as the crowd roared and chanted, "Mac Is Back."