Mike Huckabee won the West Virginia GOP primary fair-and-square. At least, that's what he'd like you to believe. While his tactics Tuesday may have been legal, they certainly were not ethical. Isn't he supposed to be the candidate of morals?
Here's how it went down:
To win the West Virginia caucus, a candidate had to have at least 50% of the vote. After the first vote, the numbers looked like this:
375 - Huckabee
176 - McCain
118 - Paul
464 - Romney
Mitt had 47% of the vote. Clearly the winner, yet not enough to take the victory. So what did Huckabee do? He hired Ron Paul supporters to come to his camp so he could beat Romney. In exchange, Huck promised to give Paul a cut of his delegates--three to be exact.
So in a nutshell, Huckabee cut a back-room deal with Paul, while McCain played the dirty game of politics shamelessly.
The second vote looked like this:
524 - Huckabee
479 - Romney
11 - McCain
So basically, it took all three candidates to beat Romney.
When asked about his scandal, Huck said:
“I have not talked to Senator McCain or people on his staff about West Virginia. You know, every time we win something, somebody tries to figure out a way to explain it away. Truth is people voted for me. They had a chance to vote for somebody else. And when they didn’t vote – when their candidate -- either John McCain or Ron Paul didn’t get the votes on the first ballot and they had to pick somebody else, they picked me. It’s as simple as that. I think it shows that when this party wants to come together, it looks to somebody they know can carry the message. People in WV believed I can do it. Yesterday, Mitt Romney was saying don’t be a whiner. Yesterday, he was against whining. Today, he’s for whining. So I think we just need to say we won WV and he’ll just have to deal with it.”
Notice how he doesn't mention Ron Paul. While it's possible that McCain instigated his own role in the scandal, Huckabee definitely approached Paul with the deal. Paul's campaign spokesperson said this:
"We struck a deal with the Huckabee people. They came to us and dealt with us honorably and with respect. And so we told them that if Dr. Paul didn't make it through the first round, that we would go for their man. They pledged us three delegates to the republican national convention."
So Huckabee may not have "talked to Senator McCain or people on his staff," but he certainly did conspire with Paul. On top of that, he was able to avoid lying about it while still not acknowledging his shady trick.
Mr. Huckabee, you may have won the West Virginia nomination, but we'll always know who the real winner was.
(To watch a newscast on the event, click here. Select the 6pm coverage.)