Posted: February 11, 2008 4:24 PM
Huckabee Challenges Weekend Washington State Results
After a string of new primary victories, Mike Huckabee on Monday challenged his single loss in weekend Republican contests and his campaign vowed it would explore legal options. While the former Arkansas governor won the Louisiana primary and the Kansas caucus, he was belatedly declared a close second to Arizona Sen. John McCain in Washington state’s caucus.
The official results from the Washington state contest were delayed because the count was so close. Huckabee’s campaign claimed that Republican Party officials halted the counting prematurely, with only 87 percent of the vote in. Aides asserted that though McCain was leading Huckabee by 242 out of 12,000 votes at that point, some 1,500 others had not yet been counted.
And making the rounds on Sunday TV talk show circuit yesterday, Huckabee refused to concede.
“We’re going to demand a full accounting. We’re going to see what happened,” he told CNN. “It appears that arbitrarily the party chairman just decided that he thought he could see how it was going.”
McCain became the presumptive Republican nominee last week, after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney dropped out of the race.
At a Monday morning press conference in Annapolis, Md., McCain took news of Huckabee’s protest in stride. “He certainly has the right to challenge if he chooses to.” However, McCain did add that “it’s pretty clear that we won.”
McCain and Huckabee have apparently been on friendly terms during recent weeks, both at times going after Romney in debates and at their separate press conferences. But Huckabee’s insistence that he will remain in the race until McCain locks up the needed 1,191 delegates could strain that bond.
Still McCain remained cordial today. When asked why voters continue to vote for Huckabee, the senator replied, “because they like him.”
Both men were back on the campaign trail Monday, ahead of Republican primaries in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia on Tuesday.