[UPDATE: 6:55 a.m 2/11/08 -- Huckabee has lawyers en route to Washington and his campaign spokesman and volunteers were expressing outrage over irregularities. Spokesman James P. Pinkerton told the Seattle Times for a story published this morning: "This clearly requires a full excavation as to what happened. The political impact of calling an election before all the votes are counted is pretty seismic." Huckabee's campaign manager Ed Rollins said in a statement: "The Huckabee campaign is deeply disturbed by the obvious irregularities in Washington State Republican precinct caucuses . . . Our cause is just. We must reemphasize the sacred American principle that all ballots be counted in a free, fair, and transparent manner." The latest from the Seattle Times is here.]
That decision with the race too close to call prompted a pledge today from Huckabee to get to the bottom of the decision:
"The Washington State GOP, with 87.2 percent reporting, discontinued the counting process. We are looking into the matter. We are committed to making certain every vote is counted. We will keep you posted."
Seattle's Slog suspects that the counting stopped because GOP officials in that state hoped to protect McCain from a damaging trifecta -- the Arizona senator lost two other contests Saturday to Huckabee.
"Ha. ha. Last week afer McCain won most Super Tuesday states and Romney dropped out, Republicans were crowing about the advantage they now held over the Democrats. The GOP was uniting behind McCain, their presumptive nominee, while the Democrats were going to slug it out all the way to the convention, Hillary and Barack bloodying each other up for months, while the GOP prepared to take on the wounded Dem nominee in Novembers general election. But the GOP isn't uniting behind McCain . . ."
[UPDATE: 4:10 pm -- Here's more from the Seattle Times, which indicates the story is picking up steam. Huckabee may have been handed an issue -- a suspicion insiders are pulling strings -- that he can run with. In 2008, everyone is acutely sensitive about election misconduct.]