The Corner

Huck Wins One

Mike Huckabee has won the Kansas caucuses by what appears to be a two-to-one margin over John McCain.  The victory means Huckabee will get most of the state’s 36 delegates, and it means he has another reason to stay in the race, at least for now.

I went to see Huckabee speak this morning at CPAC, and he told the crowd he’s in the race until the end.  “I know the pundits, and I know what they say: The math doesn’t work out,” Huckabee said.  “Well, I didn’t major in math.  I majored in miracles, and I still believe in those, too.”

The obvious read from that is that even Huckabee concedes it would take a miracle for him to win the nomination.  But with this win today, there’s no doubt Huckabee will keep campaigning.  Still, talking to people in the Huckabee circle today, I didn’t get the impression that he is dead set on staying in until John McCain hits the magic 1,191 delegate mark, as the campaign has sometimes said.  Rather, he’ll most likely stay in the race through the rest of this month and through the Texas and Ohio primaries on March 4.  After that, there will almost certainly be a reassessment in the Huckabee inner circle and a decision on whether to go on during the more stretched-out phase of the race.  If he has won more races by then, he might just stay in.

The bottom line for the moment is that there is little reason for Huckabee to get out of the race.  As long as he is winning here and there, and as long as he is not conducting a negative campaign and being viewed as a detriment to the race — don’t look for any hard-hitting attacks on John McCain — there’s no reason he has to pull out.  He has enough money coming in for the kind of cost-conscious campaign he has been running for a year now.  When he was asked at a press conference about his “miracles” statement, he said that it’s a miracle he’s here now.  He’s clearly in the mood to see how far it goes.

Byron York is a former White House correspondent for National Review.

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