February 13, 2012

Paul backers, campaign cry foul over GOP caucus tally

The state party affirms results that don't include Washington County, where snow delayed its caucus.

By Jonathan Riskind jriskind@mainetoday.com
Washington Bureau Chief

(Continued from page 1)

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Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul tosses balloons to supporters Saturday night at the Seasons Event and Conference Center in Portland. His supporters and the Paul campaign say the cancellation of a local caucus meeting in Washington County robbed Paul of a victory over Mitt Romney.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

Webster said he considers the straw poll result to be final. Maine’s caucuses were essentially a political beauty contest that involved fewer than 6,000 of Maine’s approximately 260,000 registered Republicans and did not commit to one candidate the state GOP’s 24 delegates to the Republican National Convention. Overall, 1,144 delegates are needed nationally to win the GOP presidential nomination.

Washington County’s Gardner, a Romney supporter, said he disagrees with the state party’s position on his county’s votes.

He said in an interview Sunday that he told Maine GOP officials Friday that the Washington County caucus would be postponed because of the snowstorm forecast for Saturday, but still believed his county’s results would be included in the final tally after local activists gather next weekend.

Gardner said it is only fair to update the statewide tally with Washington County results because it originally planned its caucus meeting inside the window set by the state party.

However, Gardner said a turnout of 300 people next weekend would be big. That would be a far greater turnout than the 150 people or fewer who might have come out during a storm Saturday afternoon. The storm featured 4 to 6 inches of snow but also dangerous blowing and drifting and at least one car accident near the caucus location, he said.

Gardner said that Romney, Paul and also Santorum seem to have a decent number of supporters in Washington County. It seems implausible to think that Paul could make up a 194-vote deficit statewide just with the Washington County caucus, Gardner said.

But he still wants his county’s caucus to he held – and the results counted.

MaineToday Media Washington Bureau Chief Jonathan Riskind can be contacted at 791-6280 or at:

jriskind@mainetoday.com Twitter: Twitter.com/

MaineTodayDC

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