Huckabee looks to broker a convention

Mike Huckabee is hoping wins in Texas and Ohio would persuade Republicans to support him at the Republican convention.

Published February 22, 2008 9:00PM (EST)

Mike Huckabee isn't counting strictly on a miracle to win the Republican presidential nomination. This morning, during an appearance on a San Antonio radio station, Huckabee discussed a campaign strategy predicated more on savvy political maneuvering than divine intervention.

Huckabee plans on trying to keep his campaign alive until the September Republican National Convention, when he hopes to force a brokered convention. He believes Republicans will then select him as their candidate because he is the "conservative alternative" to front-runner John McCain.

There's a catch to Huckabee's plan, which he has discussed with supporters before: He has to win Texas' primary. And he would probably need Ohio too. If he won those two states, he's confident he could persuade many of the pledged Republican delegates to switch their votes from McCain at the convention. (Such delegates have no binding obligation to vote for the candidate they've pledged their vote to.) "If we win Texas, I think it changes the dynamics of this race. It could well go all the way to the convention. If the convention delegates pick the president, chances are they would pick the most conservative. I would be the one they would end up picking, if that's the criterion," Huckabee said.

It's mathematically impossible for Huckabee to garner the 1,191 delegates he would need to win the nomination outright. And, as ABC News' Political Radar points out, even if Huckabee takes Ohio and Texas, he'll still be in a tough position. Most states award their Republican delegates on a winner-take-all basis, determined by the winner of the state as a whole. Both Ohio and Texas, however, allocate their Republican delegates as winner-take-all by congressional district.

During the radio interview, Huckabee also continued to play up his little engine that could status as a candidate, saying, "I'm like one of those tiny little basketball teams in the Final Four, and nobody thought they could get there. I think it's a credit to the commitment of those who have been supporting me."

But it has also seemed recently as if Huckabee hasn't been able to devote the kind of attention to his campaign he might need to achieve his goals. Fox News has reported that Huckabee will make his second paid speech of the week -- Huckabee says they're necessary for his income -- Friday afternoon in Colorado. While there, Huckabee will meet with James Dobson, the influential Christian right leader who heads Focus on the Family and who recently endorsed Huckabee. The candidate will hold a media availability session in front of the group's campus as well.

By Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

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John Mccain R-ariz. Mike Huckabee