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Huckabee Wins West Virginia Caucus

Mike Huckabee has won the West Virginia Caucus.

Huckabee Wins West Virginia Caucus Mike Huckabee came from behind to win in the second round of voting at the West Virginia GOP convention Republican Mike Huckabee scored the first Super Tuesday victory, winning all 18 delegates at stake in West Virginia.

The former Arkansas governor won with the support of 52 percent of the state’s GOP convention delegates on the second round of balloting. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney came in second with 47 percent of the vote, and Sen. John McCain was backed by 1 percent of the delegates.

Romney was ahead in the first round of voting in Charleston but failed to get the majority needed to win.

It appeared as though supporters of Arizona Sen. John McCain, who placed a distant third on the first ballot, moved over to Huckabee, helping him to carry the day.

I predicted a McCain win, based on the limited polling I’d seen, but noted that “it wouldn’t shock me if he picked up another state somewhere in the Deep South or West Virginia.” Given the caucus format, that’s doubly true.

What’s interesting is that McCain’s supporters went to Huckabee on the second ballot. It had been my hunch, based on the fact that McCain and Huckabee have gone out of their way to attack Romney but be nice to one another, that this would be the case. This defies the view of many Romney supporters, though, who have been claiming that Huckabee was essentially a spoiler who was splitting the “conservative” vote. My guess is that most evangelicals are also security voters and are unlikely to go for a prominent member of a religion they view as a cult.

UPDATE: Commenter Michael offers a plausible counter-analysis: “McCain told them to vote for Huckabee to keep Romney from winning. If the second round came down to McCain and Romney, the Huckabee delegates could very likely have broken for Romney.”

I don’t know if we’ll ever know for sure, since there’s no obvious reason to conduct exit polling for a caucus. Presumably, though, we’ll find out about the larger dynamic from other races and/or the post-Huckabee withdrawal polls.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. FireWolf says:

    Huckabee 1 – James 0

    What will the rest of the day forsee?

    :D

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  2. Michael says:

    This defies the view of many Romney supporters, though, who have been claiming that Romney(Huckabee?) was essentially a spoiler who was splitting the “conservative” vote.

    I don’t see how it defies that view at all. It wasn’t Huckabee’s delegates that changed their vote, it was the McCain delegates. And from the reports I’ve heard, McCain told them to vote for Huckabee to keep Romney from winning. If the second round came down to McCain and Romney, the Huckabee delegates could very likely have broken for Romney.

    Unless the above wasn’t a typo, but it doesn’t make sense any other way.

    Yep — a typo that I fixed before I saw your comment in fact. – JHJ

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  3. [...] a distant third on the first ballot, moved over to Huckabee, helping him to carry the day.” Full Article1:25 [...]

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  4. Michael says:

    Commenter Michael offers a plausible counter-analysis

    I can’t take the credit for that explanation:
    http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/02/west_virginia_intrigue.php

    via:
    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/2/5/143227/9088

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  5. Triumph says:

    Huckabee 1 – James 0

    What will the rest of the day forsee?

    If anything, this stunning performance by Huckabee is evidence that Ron Paul will prevail.

    It is clear that voters are not buying the McLame/Rom-bot horse race and that Paul will ultimately win.

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  6. Michael says:

    Now there’s rumors that Huckabee promised Ron Paul delegates that he’s give 3 of those 18 national delegates to Paul in exchange for them voting for him today.

    This election just keeps getting weirder and weirder.

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  7. floyd says:

    Too many people are over analyzing the Huckabee campaign and his supporters based on their own prejudices.
    Most of Huckabee’s supporters support him because they perceive him as a decent, trustworthy man from outside the beltway! Nothing more sinister than that.
    Fred Thompson had all the earmarks of a hired-gun spoiler. Huckabee does not.
    He simply believes that he can win the presidency by earning the people’s votes.
    The “realists”[AKA cynics] all “know better”!

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  8. Triumph says:

    J-dog: is there going to be a OTB “live chat” thing, like you had for the caucus?

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  9. James Joyner says:

    J-dog: is there going to be a OTB “live chat” thing, like you had for the caucus?

    I haven’t seen any more mention of that. Lemme check into it.

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  10. Todd in MD says:

    You can thank Gorge Bush, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and the other ilk for electing John McCain. The grass roots Christian Conservative voters in the Republican party have always been from the Bible belt in the South. The Republican party had aligned itself with the Evangelicals and have used the Christian voters to win their nominee for years on end. Did they actually expect us to ignore our core values and vote for Mitt Romney when one of our own was running? Maybe their savings and paychecks were not affected by the corruption of Worldcom, Enron, Qwest, Tyco, Adelphia, Arthur Anderson, Global Crossing, Health South, McKesson, KMart, Dynegy, Rite Aid, Parmalat, Xerox and the others. Trust Mitt who has gone negative against everyone else running in his own party and lives in a world that most of us can not fathom? He spent over 35Million of his own money to win a job that pays 400,000 /yr. It would take him over 80 years to make it back. No, I don’t think so. They supported the wrong candidate and have maligned Huckabee’s character and record. They have split the Republican Party.

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