February 15, 2012

Waldo County GOP calls for Webster's censure

By John Richardson jrichardson@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — The Waldo County Republican Committee is calling for a censure of the state GOP chairman because of problems with the presidential caucuses.

The committee held its regular monthly meeting Tuesday evening, and members initially made a motion to call for Charlie Webster's resignation or removal from the job as state chairman. Ultimately, they adopted a motion asking the state committee to censure Webster

"The consensus from the floor was anger," said Raymond St. Onge, the Waldo County chairman.

St. Onge will present the message at the next state committee meeting on March 10. Other county officials also are frustrated that not all votes were counted, but it's not clear if others will join in a formal action.

Webster acknowledged that the Waldo votes were overlooked because of a clerical error, but said the error doesn't change the results of the caucuses. Romney was declared the winner Saturday with Rep. Ron Paul coming in second 194 votes behind.

Since Saturday, Webster has been under fire from many Republicans and especially from Ron Paul supporters for declaring Mitt Romney the winner of the preference poll even though the Washington County caucus had been postponed because of a snowstorm.

According to the Associated Press, St. Onge says 121 votes were overlooked in Waldo County: 39 for Rick Santorum, 35 for Paul, 29 for Romney and 18 for Newt Gingrich.

It later turned out that votes taken in other communities, including Waterville and most of Waldo County, also were not included in the vote totals for unknown reasons.

Webster said some communities were left out inadvertently because of clerical errors. He has refused to issue a corrected count, saying only that the results did not change. Webster also has said the Washington County caucus that was postponed until this Saturday is not likely to give second-place finisher Ron Paul enough votes to take the lead from Romney.

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