Ron Paul could still win Maine caucus as GOP announces review
The Maine Republican Party announced Thursday it was reviewing votes from the presidential caucuses, which former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won by less than 200 votes.
“We have worked diligently to contact town chairmen throughout Maine to reconfirm the results of their individual caucuses,” Republican Chairman Charlie Webster said. “These totals once confirmed will be posted on the Maine Republican Party Web site.”
According to the official tally, with 84 percent of the votes counted, Romney took 39 percent of that vote, defeating Texas Rep. Ron Paul by a narrow margin. In an email sent to supporters late on Saturday, however, Paul campaign manager John Tate noted that the media had called the polling for Romney even before the votes had been fully counted.
In Washington County, where Paul was “incredibly strong” according to Tate, the caucus was delayed because of snow and was therefore not included in the official vote totals announced last weekend.
“All Republicans are keenly aware of the intense interest in the results of the Maine Republican Party Presidential Preference Poll,” Republican Chairman Charlie Webster said.
“In fact, I have had numerous conversations with Senate President Kevin Raye and Washington County Commissioner Chris Gardner regarding their concerns that the Washington County poll results be included in our final tally. As a result of these conversations I called a meeting of the Executive Committee to discuss this matter.”
“The results of the Washington County caucus will be reviewed at the March 10 Republican State Committee Meeting. The Executive Committee voted unanimously to recommend to the State Committee that they include the results in the final tally for the Presidential Preference Poll as their caucus had been scheduled to occur by the February 11 deadline, however it was postponed due to inclement weather.”
If the Washington County caucus ends up being counted, it could swing the race in Paul’s favor.
It would be the second time that Romney was mistakenly announced as the winner of a caucus. In January, the Republican Party of Iowa declared Rick Santorum the official winner of its caucus after declaring Romney the winner nearly two weeks earlier.
The caucuses are non-binding, and the Paul campaign remains confident of doing well at the state nominating convention in May. However, the ability to claim a victory in Maine carries an important cosmetic benefit for the Romney campaign.
With prior reporting by Muriel Kane
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore