Huckabee camp may fight caucus results

TUKWILA — Republican Mike Huckabee prepared Sunday for legal and political challenges to John McCain’s apparent victory in Washington’s presidential caucuses.

“The Huckabee campaign is deeply disturbed by the obvious irregularities in the Washington State Republican precinct caucuses,” Huckabee campaign chairman Ed Rollins said in a statement posted Sunday on the campaign’s Web site.

Rollins did not specify what the irregularities were and said it was “an outrage” that GOP Chairman Luke Esser declared McCain the winner with just 87 percent of results in Saturday night.

At that time, McCain led Huckabee by 2 percent.

On Sunday, with 93 percent of ballots counted, the Arizona senator’s lead had shrunk slightly; he had 25.4 percent to 23.8 percent for the former Arkansas governor. Rep. Ron Paul is third with 20.7 percent.

“I felt confident when I made my announcement, and I am even more confident after these latest results,” Esser said Sunday.

Balloting is expected to wrap up today, Esser said.

Esser said a Huckabee representative told him the campaign wasn’t happy the party had declared McCain the winner, but that the campaign did not detail any legal issues of concern.

“If they can provide me with anything of substance to ask about, we’ll be happy to inquire,” Esser said.

Rollins said Huckabee’s lawyers “are prepared to go to court, and we are also prepared to take our case all the way to the Republican National Convention in September.”

“It was Mr. Esser’s duty to oversee a fair vote-count process. Washington Republicans know, from bitter experience in the 2004 gubernatorial election, the terrible results that can come from bad ballot-counting,” Rollins said, referring to Democrat Chris Gregoire’s razor-thin victory over Republican Dino Rossi after two recounts and a court challenge.

“We’re objective arbiters. We’d have been happy to say Mr. Huckabee was the winner,” Esser said. “The numbers are what they are.”

Esser said if a recount is sought he would call up the volunteers who ran the caucuses and ask them to double-check their work.

Esser said Sunday night that he had not spoken with Rollins or anyone in Huckabee’s national campaign. He did speak with Joe Fuiten of Bothell, the Huckabee campaign leader in Washington.

Fuiten said some of the candidate’s supporters complained they had not been allowed to express themselves and have their votes properly counted.

Kim Davis of Lakewood in Pierce County outlined her experience in an e-mail that Fuiten sent to Esser and Huckabee’s national campaign.

“I think that was the trigger that fired the shot,” Fuiten said.

In an interview, Davis said she “absolutely” thought McCain supporters rigged voting in her precinct because she and a Ron Paul supporter were denied a chance to run to be delegates.

“They didn’t follow the process. No one got to talk. No one got to vote,” she said.

“I felt like what they did was wrong,” she said. “If they could do that to us, I wondered how many other places could that have happened.”

In a statement released Saturday night, Esser said McCain had beat Huckabee 26 percent to 24 percent. The latest tally provided to the Associated Press had McCain winning 3,468 precinct delegates to Huckabee’s 3,226 a difference of 242 out of nearly 13,500 who had been elected at that point.

Huckabee trails McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, in the overall race for delegates, but has vowed to stay in the race until a candidate earns the 1,191 delegates needed to win the nomination.

Washington state’s Republicans have yet to allocate the 40 delegates it will send to the national convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul from Sept. 1-4.

Washington is the only state where Republicans use both the primary and caucus results to allocate delegates. About half of the delegates will come from the presidential primary on Feb. 19, with the remainder coming from the caucus and convention process.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Reporter Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623 or


n Barack Obama wins the Maine Democratic caucuses. Page A3

n Hillary Rodham Clinton still has the lead among superdelegates. Page A3

Talk to us

More in Local News

Two snowboarders head up the mountain in a lift chair on the opening day of ski season at Stevens Pass Ski Area on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, near Skykomish, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Ski season delayed at Stevens Pass due to minimal snow

Resort originally planned to open Dec. 1. But staff are hopeful this week’s snow will allow guests to hit the slopes soon.

Siblings Qingyun, left, and Ruoyun Li, 12 and 13, respectively, are together on campus at Everett Community College on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, in Everett, Washington. The two are taking a full course load at the community college this semester. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Siblings, age 12 and 13, are youngest students at EvCC campus

Qingyun Li was 11 when he scored a perfect 36 on the ACT test. His sister, Ruoyun, was one point away.

Edmond’s newly elected mayor Mike Rosen on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mayor-elect Rosen wants to ‘make Edmonds politics boring again’

Mike Rosen handily defeated incumbent Mayor Mike Nelson. He talked with The Herald about how he wants to gather the “full input” of residents.

A speed camera facing west along 220th Street Southwest on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Traffic cameras, and tickets, come to Edmonds; Mukilteo could be next

New school zone cameras in Edmonds will begin operating in January. Mukilteo is considering enforcement cameras as well.

A person walks their dog along a flooded Old Snohomish Monroe Road on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Flood-resistant floors and sandbags are price of riverside life in Sultan

Flooding is a threat every year for 75,000 locals — and the long-term forecast suggests it’ll only get worse in the coming decades.

Everett Community College is introducing a new Trojan design as the college's symbol of student spirit and athletics. The design incorporates the Feather Star, EvCC's official logo, in the Trojan's cape.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Amid staffing crisis, student nurses run into shortages in education too

Everett Community College’s nursing program has 79 slots. Hundreds apply each year — and that’s just the first hurdle.

A family walks through the Wintertide lights Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, at Legion Park in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Wintertide Lights returns for the month of December in Everett

The free family event is open nightly at Evergreen Arboretum and Gardens in Legion Park.

The Safeway store at 4128 Rucker Ave., on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Mike Henneke / The Herald)
Police: Everett Safeway ex-worker accused of trying to ram customers

The man, 40, was showing symptoms of psychosis, police wrote. Officers found him circling another parking lot off Mukilteo Boulevard.

Ferries pass during a crossing from the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal and the Clinton Terminal on Monday, April 26, 2021 in Mukilteo, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Mukilteo-Clinton ferry gets grant for renovations focused on walk-ons

The $4.8 million grant from the feds will be split between six aging Washington ferries, to improve the vessels’ interiors.

An order is delivered to one of the first cars at Chick-Fil-A's store in Marysville on its opening day Thursday on May 21, 2020. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Chicken with a side of traffic: Everett Mall Chick-fil-A opens Dec. 7

The new Everett Mall Way restaurant is the popular chain’s fifth Snohomish County location. Openings often cause traffic backups.

A suspected gas explosion on Wednesday destroyed a house in the 19700 block of 25TH DR SE in Bothell, Washington. (Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue)
Gas explosion destroys freshly sold Bothell house; no injuries

The vacant home, purchased days earlier, blew up Wednesday on 25th Drive SE, throwing a garage door across the street.

Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell speaks during a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the 196th ST SW Improvement Project near the 196th and 44th Ave West intersection in Lynnwood, Washington on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Jarred by anti-Semitic rants, Lynnwood council approves tax increase

Three people spewed hate speech via Zoom at a council meeting this week. Then, the council moved on to regular business.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.