NEW YORK (CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the West Virginia State Party Convention, the first Republican presidential nominating contest of "Super Tuesday."
Huckabee was victorious on the second ballot.
Huckabee picked up 18 national convention delegates after trailing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on the first round of balloting. 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.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul did not collect enough votes to advance past the first round. Paul, Huckabee, and Romney addressed the convention earlier in the day.
UPDATE: Huckabee spokesman Jim Pinkerton has released the following statement:
“Mike Huckabee is the best communicator in the party—in the country. If people get to know him, they will vote for him. Just as they did in West Virginia. Which, of course, has a great tradition of being a key primary state.”
UPDATE II: Romney Campaign Chairwoman Beth Myers issued the following statement:
"Unfortunately, this is what Sen. 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.
"Governor Romney had enough respect for the Republican voters of West Virginia to make an appeal to them about the future of the party based on issues. This is why he led on today's first ballot. Sadly, Senator McCain cut a Washington backroom deal in a way that once again underscores his legacy of working against Republicans who are interested in championing conservative policies and rebuilding the party
Go Huckabee Go! He is a principled leader with proven results!
Today is Doomsday and the end of Conservatives as a viable political force. The Christian Right is going down in flames. McCain raises triumphant with his foot on their necks. McCain is sort of like Constantine, this is a turning point of history.
Huckabee isn't stupid he smells a VP position opening up......thats what all this is about.
Anybody still doubt that Huckabee staying in the race is going to hand it to McCain?
Does anybody really think that if Huckabee dropped out all of the evangelicals voting for him would go for McCain rather than Romney. Fat chance.
You call that a win, the only reason he even came close in West Virginia is because the McCain's people didn't want to see Romney win and they knew McCain couldn't pull it off. The sad thing is that Huckabee is being played for the fool. He thinks that the people are actually pulling for him in reality Romney is the winner in West Virginia, and Huckabee won't even get the time of day from McCain when he is done getting what he wants.
McCain will win and he is playing you all for fools.
The only reason Huckabee won is because McCain was bring up the rear so his supporters switched to Huck!
No one candidate can beat Romney. They all have to team up to have a chance.
Why don't the conservatives in America actually vote for a Republican who can beat the democrats?!
Are Huckabee and Mc CAIN lovers?
Republican Candidates. I an elderly widow. I cannot jump up to get the phone all day and half the night. You people have caused me undue pain by calling my home telephone number so many times for so many days. If I could, I would move to a third world country to get away from your telephone calls. My son is V. P. of a business. He is prohibited by law to all people at any time of the day or night to ask for their business, to make changes in their business. I have had not one call to identify themselves as Hillary Clinton. She is my hero. I have the name of the last one who called me Mitt Romney for he was too stupid to have his name blocked. I was so worn out from having no rest that I could not get out to vote at all today. When and from whom did you get permission to do such?
Someone told me that John McCain began this.
I would never vote for anyone who would allow illegal children to get schooling over my American born children. I'm looking for a president who would make the American born children of illegals stil illegal. That would hopefully curb the illegal immigrants idea of having anchor babies on purpose. I was at a mall in Salem Oregon and overheard a conversation between two hispanic women who were contemplating having babies here to better their chances of staying. I was and am still LIVID.
I'm voting against Media Bias and voting for Mike Huckabee.
Stupid is as stupid does...great work West Virginia...
fired up, ready to go
I heart Huckabee
Congratulations, John McCain !
Either way : OBAMA'08
The only true conservative in the race!!!
Ron Paul is the man. He gets my vote today!
Another conspiracy by Senator Lord Palpatine John McCain to overthrow the Republican party.
I wouldn't care who was running in the Republican party, they wouldn't get my vote!!! Look at how the current Republican President has the US in a recession!!!! But if you ask any of them how has BUSH left the country in the last eight years, they will say anything but the truth which is A HOT MESS!!!
Go Obama, if not him, Go Hillary, if not one of them GOD HELP US ALL!!!!
Well, this is West Virginia...a place where family trees don't branch out.
Please , somebody make this bible thumper go away.
Huckabee won because Maccain supporters switch to supporte Huckbee in order to screw up Romney..............Dirty politics!!!
So Romney loses again,
I have to give it to the religious right, they will vote their religion and will not be fooled no matter what.
oh and they wont vote for McCain, even if that means that Hillary (the great satan herself – according to religious right) will be the nexy president.
So, McCain supporters "threw" the vote just to sabotage Romney? How is that a victory for anyone? I feel sorry for W. Virginian voters, who were mostly left out of this process. What a joke.
When you guys put up the first vote from West Virginia, with Romney slight ahead, my first thought was to see if McCain voters moved to Huckabee to block Romney. Looks like that is what happened.
Watch for Huckabee to ask McCain to dropout, so they don't divide the anti-Romney vote ;)