Following a caucus vote that will help decide who is the Republican presidential candidate, the Washington state Republican party decides to quit counting votes with only 87 percent of precincts reporting, calling the race for Senator John McCain. His margin of victory? Only 242 votes. But who’s counting?
For context, you have to consider that the Republican Party is working to consolidate support behind the presumptive nominee John McCain, a man with questionable support in the Republican base. On Saturday, upstart populist Mike Huckabee wins Louisiana, runs away with Kansas (winning a whopping 60 percent of the vote), and is running neck and neck with McCain in Washington. A sweep for Huckabee would be unflattering to the presumed nominee, McCain.
And with McCain ahead by 242 votes in Washington, the state party chairman stops counting ballots and calls the race for McCain. Why bother counting the remaining 1500 or so votes? Huckabee is contesting the result. The party has since said they will begin counting votes again.
This seems like a ready-made media drama, but it’s not happening. The national media have taken a pass on this story over the weekend. Sunday night, the online homepage of the Washington Post carried eight stories on the presidential race. Only one headline mentioned Huckabee at all, and it was the campaign blog, not a full print edition story.