Huckabee making his case for Vice President

Mike Huckabee continued his impressive string of wins in the south, barely edging John McCain in Louisiana 43-42% while also taking the caucuses in Kansas.

McCain eked out a close victory in the Washington State caucuses.

The two wins show Huckabee's strength with the evangelical Christian base of the party while underscoring McCain's weakness in the south:

On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee upset front-runner McCain in Saturday's Republican contests.

The former Arkansas governor beat McCain in Kansas nearly 3-1. Huckabee also took Louisiana, narrowly edging out McCain, according to CNN projections.

With both Huckabee and McCain falling short of the 50 percent mark, the 20 delegates will be allocated at next Saturday's Louisiana state GOP convention.

In Washington state, the state Republican Party declared McCain the winner.

Huckabee's Saturday wins show that Republicans are not necessarily falling in line behind McCain, the Republicans' presumptive nominee. In Louisiana, exit polls showed that a majority of conservatives rejected the Arizona Republican. Only 34 percent of conservatives voted for McCain compared with 50 percent who voted for Huckabee, according to exit polls.

"People across America are gravitating toward our campaign and realizing that there is still a choice. And that's what we've said all along
Huckabee has no chance to overtake McCain for the nomination. But the longer he stays in the race, winning primaries - especially in the south and bible belt - he makes the case that he is the front runner for the second spot on the ticket.

In the end, McCain may have little choice in the matter - which is Huckabee's plan. He wants to be so successful in the south that not only does he underscore his own strength but also highlight McCain's weakness in a region the GOP must have in order to win the election.

McCain was probably thinking of a conservative running mate already. But Huckabee has his own baggage - including some past statements that Democrats would find easy to use against him. He is also not as conservative as some other possibilities for the ticket.

McCain would probably not have Huckabee as his first choice. But the former Arkansas governor is making it very difficult for McCain to refuse him.