West Virginia may not be the most eagerly anticipated Super Tuesday state, but it promises to keep things interesting with one of the earliest and least predictable votes. The new GOP convention/primary format comes with a dizzying number of rules and makes it difficult to tell who is actually in the lead. Romney seems to have the most support, but 48 percent of delegates remain undecided, so the state is “still up for grabs” among the candidates, says Lynn Staton, associate chairman of the state Republican Party. As the Democrats won’t go to the polls until May, there hasn’t been any campaigning there as of yet.
Delegates: Republicans, 30 (18 chosen on February 5)
Format: The Republicans use a closed convention on February 5 that is winner-takes-all once a majority has been reached. West Virginia is slightly more complicated in that it will select nine additional delegates in May in a traditional primary, a vote which is independent of tomorrow’s convention. Three unpledged delegates are also sent to the national convention.
Recent Polls: There are no recent polls from West Virginia, but of the 1207 total delegates heading to the state's convention on Tuesday, Romney already has 210 pledged to him. Huckabee is next in line with 138, followed by Ron Paul with 95. McCain only has 15, but many of the 166 delegates pledged to Thompson or Giuliani have said they will support the senator on Tuesday.
Democratic In-State Fundraising: Clinton: $226,393; Obama: $24,315.
Republican In-State Fundraising: Romney: $31,356; McCain: $21,292.
Endorsements: Charleston Mayor Danny Jones has endorsed John McCain. Both of the state’s senators (Robert Byrd and John D. Rockefeller, IV) are Democrats, as is Governor Joe Manchin, so there aren’t a lot of high-stakes Republican endorsements to be had.
Analysis: West Virginia will have their convention results in as early as 12:30EST, making it one of the first reporters on Super Tuesday. State officials believe that this will give West Virginia a real influence in the national sphere. Romney, Huckabee, and Ron Paul all plan to personally attend the convention tomorrow to shill for votes. The conventional wisdom is that West Virginia is a wildcard this year.
Get a rundown of other states at play at TNR's Super Tuesday Primer, updated with new states every day leading up to February 5.
By Cara Parks