February 11, 2008 / 12:51 PM / 10 years ago

Huckabee protests Washington state caucus vote

<p>Republican presidential candidate former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee speaks to Tim Russert about his campaign for the Republican nomination during a live taping of Meet the Press in Washington, February 10, 2008.Brendan Smialowski-Meet the Press/Handout</p>

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on Monday challenged the results of his party's weekend caucus in Washington state, where he ran a close second to likely Republican nominee John McCain.

The Huckabee campaign said it was exploring all available legal options to ensure a full accounting of the Saturday vote after "dubious final results." Lawyers for the campaign arrived in Washington on Sunday evening.

"We want a fair election up there, and we're just not sure we had one," Huckabee said in an interview on NBC's "Today Show."

He said Republican party officials stopped counting with only 87 percent of the vote in. McCain was leading Huckabee by only 242 votes out of approximately 12,000 at the time, with 1,500 votes uncounted, according to the Huckabee campaign.

"We're going to demand a full accounting. We're going to see what happened ... I appears that arbitrarily the party chairman just decided that he thought he could see how it was going," Huckabee told CNN.

McCain, an Arizona senator who became the likely Republican nominee last week when chief rival Mitt Romney dropped out, lost two of three weekend state contests to Huckabee.

A former Arkansas governor and ordained Baptist minister, Huckabee beat McCain in Louisiana and Kansas.

Reporting by David Morgan

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