Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is the first winner in the massive Super Tuesday series of primaries and caucuses across the nation. Mr Huckabee won handily over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in the West Virginia state convention on Tuesday morning.

Although Mr Romney has won the first round of votes in the West Virginia state convention, he did not take more than a 50 percent majority. A second round of voting was called between the top three candidates to determine an overall winner.

In the second vote, it appears supporters of John McCain, sensing they could not take the win, seem to have thrown their support behind Mr Huckabee to seal his victory.

In the final results, Mr Huckabee took 52 per cent of the vote, with Romney placing second at 47 percent. John McCain came in third with only 1 percent of the vote.

Eighteen pledged delegates will be given to Mr Huckabee for the win in West Virginia. An additional nine delegates will be awarded in a May 13 presidential primary. Three unpledged delegates will be chosen from party leaders.

Mr Romney, Mr Huckabee and Texas Congressman Ron Paul all made last minute personal appeals to voters at the West Virginia state convention, according to WSAZ.com. Paul delivered a speech to GOP delegates this morning at the Charleston Civic Center. Mr McCain sent former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer to speak for him.

The West Virginia state convention was a closed vote, which means only registered Republican representatives can vote for a candidate. The state is the first to report final results among the Super Tuesday races. A Democratic presidential primary will be held in West Virginia on May 13.

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