In Saturday’s electoral contests, Mike Huckabee came awful close to sweeping John McCain, as Barack Obama did to her royal highness, Hillary Clinton. As the day wound down, the remaining question mark was Washington state’s caucus vote.
Early in the counting, Mike Huckabee was ahead of John McCain. With 37% reporting it was Huck over McCain by three points. It began to swing the other way later in the evening, and with 87% reporting, McCain was up by two percentage points, with just over 200 votes separating the two.
Then something strange happened. The Washington state GOP called it a night and stopped counting the votes. Then today, still stuck at 87%, the party called it for McCain.
Washington State Party Chairman Luke Esser released the following statement this evening, “What a great day for Washington Republicans. They came out in full force today to support their candidates, and to make their voices heard. Congratulations to Sen. McCain for a hard-fought win, his second caucus victory in the 2008 presidential nomination process. And congratulations to Gov. Huckabee for his strong second-place finish.”
“A great day for Washington Republicans?” Excuse me, but what in the world is going on here? Why not count the rest of the votes before calling the result? As I write this, the vote count is 3,468 to 3,226 in McCain’s favor. Why did they wait until the presumptive nominee was ahead to stop counting? This is like stopping a Superbowl game with 8 minutes to go and declaring the team trailing most of the game the winner.
Mike Huckabee noted this situation on Meet the Press today, saying that “weird things” were going on. Indeed. What’s the matter with Washington?
The final results are expected tomorrow (Monday). If McCain does indeed win, fine. It was expected. But if Huckabee pulls out a victory, effectively sweeping Saturday’s contests, then the Washington state GOP owes Huck an apology. Are they trying to save McCain embarrassment rather than letting the voters’ full voice be heard? Why wait to count the rest of the votes?
Something’s fishy here. Remember the irregularities in voting for the position of Governor where Dino Rossi was robbed of his rightful victory? What’s up, Washington?
Update: Mike Huckabee Challenges Washington Caucus Results.
Mike Huckabee is challenging the results of the Washington state Republican caucuses, his campaign announced Sunday, after accusing the state party chairman of calling the election for John McCain before all the votes were counted.
The campaign will be pursuing a full investigation, including sending in lawyers to join those already on the scene in the state, officials told FOX News.
And Ed Rollins was reading my mind.
Ed Rollins, Huckabee campaign chairman, directly challenged Esser’s move, saying the count was incomplete because the other 12.8 percent of precincts could tip the scales since McCain was beating Huckabee by only a couple hundred votes.
“The chairman showed very bad judgment in stopping the voting last night when announcing John McCain had won, when there was less than a 200-vote margin between the two candidates,” Rollins told FOX News in an exclusive interview. “You never announce a vote, in my 40 years of politics, I have never know anybody to announce a vote count before the vote is counted.”
Good for you Huck! It may change nothing, but it is important to count all the votes before attempting to write the media narrative. A Huckasweep would be big news. Two victories out of three is good, but a sweep would be better, especially going into the next primaries. The Washington state GOP has done a great disservice to Republican voters.
Update 2: See also the Huckabee campaign’s press release regarding the incomplete Washington state caucus results. It notes that calling the race at 87% means that “more than one in eight Evergreen State Republicans have been disenfranchised by the actions of their own party.” Disgraceful.
Ed Rollins has stated that “the Huckabee Presidential Campaign will be exploring all available legal options regarding the dubious final results for the state of Washington State Republican precinct caucuses….”
Update 3: Something like this has happened before in Washington state. Flash back to the 2004 election:
In the November 2 election, over 2.8 million votes were cast for Governor. After the initial vote count, Rossi led Democrat Christine Gregoire by 261 votes . Washington State law required a recount because of the small margin. After the second count, Rossi again led, but by a smaller margin of 42 votes. After a third count, done by hand, Gregoire took a 129 vote lead.
Christine Gregoire (D) won once after Dino Rossi (R) won twice! They kept recounting until Gregoire won. Very nice. The votes that got the Democrat over the top were referred to as “found ballots.” Perhaps Washington state’s GOP is “finding” more votes right now to ensure a McCain victory. This really needs to be investigated.
== Sam Brown ==