Posted: February 5, 2008 3:50 PM
Huckabee Wins in W.Va -- With a Little Help From McCain?
Mike Huckabee has won the 18 delegates awarded by the West Virginia GOP convention — the first of the Super Tuesday states to report results and a first victory for the former Arkansas governor since the Iowa caucuses in early January.
Media reports indicated Huckabee was helped to the victory by backers of rival John McCain, who threw Huckabee their support to prevent Mitt Romney from capturing the winner-take-all GOP state convention vote.
Huckabee bested Romney on the second ballot with 51.5 percent of the 1,133 delegates attending the state GOP’s presidential nominating convention. Romney was backed by 47.4 percent.
McCain delegate John Vuolo told Fox News he had been instructed by the McCain camp to throw his support behind Huckabee for the winner-take-all event.
The delegates were awarded through a series of votes conducted by the state party at its convention that opened Tuesday morning. In the first round of voting there was no clear winner though one clear loser: Texas Rep. Ron Paul who was eliminated.
In the second round, Huckabee had garnered 51.5 percent of the vote to Romney’s 47.4 percent.
It was in West Virginia that Romney — McCain’s top rival for party front-runner — continued the campaign attacks that have been occurring between the two all week, stressing that McCain’s support of global warming “would effectively kill coal,” long the life blood of the state’s economy.
Romney’s loss surprised some poll watchers and the alleged deal between Huckabee and McCain supporters caused a stir in the blogosphere.
“The blogs are buzzing about a potential deal made between McCain supporters - who bombed the first round - and Huckabee delegates.,” Jonathan Martin wrote on Politico.com. “This is very bad news for Team Romney, who felt they had the state in the bag coming in, as we reported this morning.”