February 12, 2012

Maine Republicans choose Romney

But Texas Rep. Ron Paul finishes a close second in GOP caucuses Saturday.

By John Richardson jrichardson@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts who is seeking the GOP presidential nomination, speaks Saturday during the Portland Republican City Committee Caucus at Riverton Elementary School. The candidate added to his delegate count with a victory in Maine.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

20120211_RonPaul2
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Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a Republican presidential candidate, tosses balloons to supporters Saturday night at the Seasons Event and Conference Center in Portland. Paul came in second to GOP rival Mitt Romney in the Maine GOP’s nonbinding preference poll.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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PDF: Town-by-town voting results

RESULTS OF CAUCUSES

Maine’s GOP caucuses are the first step in the selection of the state’s delegates to the Republican National Convention. The vote is a nonbinding preference poll.

There were 5,585 votes cast in the caucuses, with 61 write-ins. Here is a selection of regional results, with a look at some of the municipalities won by the contenders:

Mitt Romney won 39 percent, or 2,190 votes, with victories in Sanford, Brunswick and Augusta.

Ron Paul won 36 percent, or 1,996 votes, with wins in Portland, Lewiston and Bangor.

Rick Santorum had 18 percent, or 989 votes.

Newt Gingrich had 6 percent, or 349 votes.

 

ABOUT MAINE'S GOP CAUCUSES

Maine’s Republican caucuses, a series of meetings held in community centers and school cafeterias across the state over the past seven days, are the first step in the selection of the state’s delegates to the Republican National Convention.

The vote is a nonbinding preference poll, although the state’s delegates typically follow the wishes of party members – as long as the favored candidates are still in the race at convention time.

Maine’s Republicans control a total of 24 delegates to the national convention. Twenty-one of them will be formally chosen at the state GOP convention in May based on the caucus results, and the other three delegates are party officials.

Nationally, a candidate needs 1,144 to capture the GOP nomination.

Not all Maine Republicans had an opportunity to influence the vote announced Saturday, in part because a snowstorm delayed caucuses in Washington County.

A small number of caucuses will be held next week, but the results will not change the official poll results, party officials said.

“He’s a fiscal conservative. He has a record as an outsider,” Stone said. “His campaign is ready to go the distance.”

Both Romney and Paul appeared Saturday morning in Sanford, where hundreds of York County Republicans gathered to caucus.

Romney also stopped in Portland on Saturday morning, where about 250 voters and 100 campaign supporters crowded into the Riverton Elementary School auditorium.

The caucus drew about 100 more voters than four years ago, party officials said.“We have to find someone to replace Barack Obama, not just make a political statement,” Romney told the crowd.

Michael McIver, a 57-year-old network administrator, said he and his wife are longtime independent voters but registered as Republicans in order to attend their first caucus and support Romney.“I am looking for more of a businessman rather than a politician,” McIver said.

Gwen Tuttle, a 26-year-old social worker, also was at her first caucus, But she switched from the Democratic to Republican Party this year in order to support Ron Paul.“I really like Ron Paul’s foreign policy and his economic policy makes a lot of sense for Maine,” she said.

Unlike the primary in neighboring New Hampshire, Maine’s caucuses are often overlooked during presidential election years – both by the candidates and the national media.

Maine’s caucuses are the first step in the selection of the state’s 24 delegates to the Republican National Convention.

Nationally, a candidate ultimately needs 1,144 to capture the GOP nomination.

After the votes were announced, Paul supporters said they would stick with him.

“We’re disappointed. We thought he was going to win it,” said Cindy Brakey of New Gloucester, in Cumberland County, who will be a delegate to the state convention in May.

Jesse Benton, Paul’s national campaign chairman, said the Maine results likely would have been different if Washington County hadn’t canceled its caucuses Saturday because of snow.

Paul has strong support there and probably would have picked up more than 200 votes, Benton said.

Benton questioned whether a little snow was enough to keep Mainers away from the caucuses and pledged to keep pushing to win Paul delegates at the state convention and beyond.

Webster, the state GOP chairman, said caucuses held after Saturday won’t be added to the official count. Webster also said the remaining caucuses most likely would not have changed the outcome.

Staff Writers Kelley Bouchard and Beth Quimby contributed to this report.

Staff Writer John Richardson can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

jrichardson@mainetoday.com

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Additional Photos

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Supporters of Mitt Romney cheer Saturday as their candidate is introduced during the Portland Republican City Committee Caucus at Riverton Elementary School in Portland.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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Glenn Strout of Portland holds a sign in support of Texas Rep. Ron Paul before a speech by GOP rival Mitt Romney during the Portland Republican City Committee Caucus on Saturday.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Rick Santorum
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Rick Santorum: 18 percent

AP

Newt Gingrich
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Newt Gingrich: 6 percent

AP

  


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