Huckabee takes LA, KS; McCain wins WA

February 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
John McCain has flunked his first ballot test since demolishing most of the field to become the presidential nominee-in-waiting of the Republican party. A persistent Mike Huckabee beat him in two of the three GOP contests Saturday. The preacher and former Arkansas governor captured nearly 60 percent of the vote in the caucuses in Kansas. He also won in Louisiana, although McCain scored a narrow victory in Washington state.

It happened on a day when Huckabee told one adoring crowd that he didn't major in math, he majored in miracles. But it's McCain who has a huge advantage in the delegate math. He has 719 delegates to Huckabee's 234. It will take 1,191 delegate votes to win the convention's nomination next summer.

Exit polls yesterday show McCain remains very unpopular among Republicans who consider themselves very conservative. The Arizona senator's Super Tuesday wins last week prompted chief rival Mitt Romney to drop out of the race and left McCain with a seemingly insurmountable lead. But he is also left with the challenge of energizing the party's conservative base. Saturday's vote indicates most of Romney's conservative support has switched to Huckabee.


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