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Romney, who led in early rounds of voting, just lost to Huckabee in West Virginia.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the Republican presidential nominating race in West Virginia on Tuesday, defeating John McCain and Mitt Romney in the first of the day’s 24 state contests to pick candidates for the November election, U.S. media projected.

Huckabee, a Baptist preacher, aims to do well among states in the South where evangelicals predominate. He spoke to delegates at the West Virginia state Republican Party convention earlier in the day.

Romney led in the first round of voting but did not have the majority needed to secure a win. Huckabee was projected the winner in the second round.

Twenty-four states were holding nominating contests for one or both parties on “Super Tuesday” — the biggest day in the process of picking a presidential candidate for each party. Republicans are holding contests in 21 states, and Democrats are competing in 22 states.