Huckabee Wins Big in South, Challenges for Conservative Vote

"Are you sittin' down?" Saltsman asked in his Tennessee drawl. "I've got some news for you from West Virginia."

"What is it?" Huckabee asked.

"Our guys on the ground in West Virginia have been working really hard," Saltsman said, "and the news is you only won by a couple votes."

It took a second for Huckabee to process what Saltsman was saying.

"Wait — did you say I won by a couple votes?" Huckabee asked. "That is great news!"

The West Virginia news provides some well-needed wind at the back for Huckabee, who hasn't won a contest since the Iowa caucuses.

He, Romney and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who has four delegates, all campaigned in West Virginia, Tuesday.

No winner emerged after the first round of voting at the West Virginia GOP convention, though Paul — who came in fourth — was eliminated.

Romney led with 464 votes, or 41 percent, followed by Huckabee, with 375 (33 percent), McCain with 176 (16 percent) and Paul with 118 (10 percent).

As voting continued to a second round and it was clear McCain wouldn't win, many McCain supporters jumped to back Huckabee.

With the support of those supporters who had gone in the first round, for Paul and McCain, Huckabee squeaked past Romney for a win in the second round of voting. Huckabee garnered 52 percent of the vote to Romney's 47 percent.

"Unfortunately, this is what Sen. McCain's inside Washington ways look like," said Romney-for-president campaign manager Beth Myers. "He cut a backroom deal with the tax-and-spend candidate he thought could best stop Gov. Romney's campaign of conservative change."

The Huckabee campaign denied there was any deal.

"I'm sorry, I thought the Romney campaign sent out something [on Monday], saying there's no whining in politics," said Saltsman. "He got beat — period. Once again, showing that Gov. Romney's millions of dollars can't buy the election."

Bob Fish, the CEO of the West Virginia Republican Presidential Convention, responded to Romney's accusations of a deal by telling ABC News, "Welcome to politics."

"To anyone who speaks of 'a deal' being made, as if that's critical, I guess I would say, 'Welcome to politics.' This is exactly what happens when you have an election of this type," Fish said.

ABC News' Teddy Davis, Rick Klein and Karen Travers contributed to this report.

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