Mike Huckabee wins first Super Tuesday contest

The former governor of Arkansas captures West Virginia.

Published February 5, 2008 7:31PM (EST)

Mike Huckabee is the winner of the West Virginia GOP caucus, earning 18 delegates in that state. But was it really a win for Huckabee, or just a loss for Mitt Romney?

West Virginia Republicans select their candidate at a state Republican Party Convention. At the convention today, Romney won the first round of voting, with 41 percent of the delegates voting for him, 33 percent for Huckabee, 16 percent for John McCain and 10 percent for Ron Paul. But since no candidate won a majority, another vote was held between the three leading candidates, without Ron Paul.

As Fox News reports, in the second round, McCain delegates defected to Huckabee, in hopes of keeping Romney, McCain's chief rival for the Republican nomination, from getting the 18 delegates in this winner-take-all state. That strategy worked. In the second vote, Huckabee took 51.5 percent, and Romney 47.4, giving Huckabee 18 delegates for the Republican National Convention in September.

The Romney camp was not pleased. "Unfortunately, this is what Senator McCain's inside Washington ways look like: he cut a backroom deal with the tax-and-spend candidate he thought could best stop Governor Romney's campaign of conservative change," said Beth Meyers, Romney's campaign manager in a statement.

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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