Romney Wins Maine Caucuses By Slim Margin

by
alan
Mitt Romney eked out a narrow win in Maine's Republican caucuses, state party officials announced Saturday, providing his campaign a much-needed boost after three straight losses earlier this week. But the former Massachusetts governor's margin of victory over rival Ron Paul was so slim it all but guaranteed scrutiny of the party's decision not to count the results of caucuses scheduled later in February.

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney delivers remarks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Marriott Wardman Park February 10, 2012 in Washington, DC. Thousands of conservative activists are attending the annual gathering in the nation's capital.

Mitt Romney eked out a narrow win in Maine's Republican caucuses, state party officials announced Saturday, providing his campaign a much-needed boost after three straight losses earlier this week. But the former Massachusetts governor's margin of victory over rival Ron Paul was so slim it all but guaranteed scrutiny of the party's decision not to count the results of caucuses scheduled later in February.

At a state party gathering in Portland, state Republican Chairman Charlie Webster announced Romney had won with 2,190 votes compared to 1,996 for Paul, the only other candidate to aggressively compete in the state. Rick Santorum received 989 votes and Newt Gingrich won 349, but neither actively campaigned there.

Webster said any caucus results that come in after Saturday wouldn't be counted no matter how close the vote turned out to be.

Maine's caucuses began Feb. 4 and continued throughout the week. But the results announced Saturday accounted for just 83% of all precincts in the state. Several communities elected to hold their caucuses at a later date.

Caucuses in Washington County scheduled Saturday were postponed until Feb. 18 because of a major snowstorm that blanketed the region. Earlier, the state party's Executive Director Michael Quatrano said county officials were told the results would not count toward the total.