After dedicating much of the week to the Maine caucus, Texas Congressman Ron Paul found himself losing to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Fox News reported Saturday that with 84 percent of the vote counted, Romney was declared the winner with 39 percent of the vote to Paul’s 36.
Paul skipped the CPAC gathering in Washington, D.C., in order to spend time campaigning in Maine, hoping to get his first primary season win.
The two were the only candidates to seriously contest the election. Romney won in 2008, but Paul has devoted his campaign resources to the state and was looking for his first win of the 2012 primary season.
Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich largely ignored the Maine contest, which marks the first step toward allocating the state’s 24 delegates. Santorum is carefully choosing his targets, with the aim of pulling off decisive wins like he did in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. Gingrich is focusing in the near-term on the 10 states holding primaries on March 6.
According to Fox, fewer than 5,500 participated in the week-long caucus – about two percent of the state’s registered Republicans.
The New York Times reported:
Although the vote in Maine had no substantive meaning in terms of delegates, losing it could have created a political headache for Mr. Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, and extended a negative story line that had been building since last week when he lost Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri to Rick Santorum.
Those losses suddenly increased the symbolic importance of Maine’s all-but-ignored caucuses, and an additional loss Saturday in his own backyard would have magnified concerns that he could not seal the deal with voters.
Romney’s campaign also got a boost Saturday when he won the CPAC straw poll. Paul, who won the last two years, came in last place.
The news did not sit well with Paul supporters who predictably called the results “rigged.”
“We probably won, but will NEVER know…” wrote one supporter at the Daily Paul.
“Why are we so trusting of the GOP not to tamper with our delegates? After all, they certainly have no qualms with rigging the straw polls,” wrote another.
According to Politico:
Meanwhile, the mood was grim at a Ron Paul election night party here when it was announced that the former Massachusetts governor had won the state’s non-binding caucuses.
The crowd booed, then went eerily silent, when the results were revealed.
“Liar!” shouted one supporter when state chairman Charlie Webster announced the results. “How many dead voted?” cried another.
Even as Webster continued to speak, the crowd resumed talking among themselves and ignored the remainder of the announcement.
Paul, however, remained upbeat as he told supporters the “revolution is just beginning.”
“We lost by almost 200 votes … it’s almost like we could call it a tie,” he said.
More on Ron Paul at modenook.com here.
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