Huckabee wins W.Va. with help from McCain, Paul UPDATE

Mike Huckabee has won West Virginia, beating Mitt Romney 52% to 47%. But perhaps more interesting is that John McCain may have had more of a hand in the victory than his 1% vote tally might suggest.

Here's Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic:

After the first round of balloting in West Virginia, Mitt Romney was solidly in the lead with 41% of the votes, followed by Mike Huckabee with 33% and John McCain with 16%.

Since 50% is needed to win all 18 delegates, a second balloting is underway.

But sources say that representatives for John McCain called many of his reps in WV and asked them to vote for order to thwart Romney on the second ballot.

And now comes word from local TV station WSAZ that Huckabee also picked up support from Ron Paul's West Virginia supporters by pledging to give him three national delegates in return.

UPDATE: The Hill has more. Romney is accusing McCain and Huckabee of a shady "backroom deal."

“Unfortunately, this is what Senator McCain’s inside Washington ways look like: he cut a backroom deal with the tax-and-spend candidate he thought could best stop Governor Romney’s campaign of conservative change,” Beth Myers, Romney’s campaign manager, said in a statement.

I don't see anything shady about this. In fact, it looks a lot like a brokered convention.

/Hat tip: DailyKos

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