The campaign of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul and his supporters say the libertarian-leaning Texan was robbed of victory Saturday night when Mitt Romney was declared the winner of the Maine Republican Party’s presidential caucuses. 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. The Paul campaign says a local caucus meeting in Washington County that was canceled Saturday afternoon because of a snowstorm would have provided the margin of victory over Romney. But Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster is standing behind the results showing that Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, won the nonbinding presidential straw poll by 194 votes.
Washington County GOP Chairman Chris Gardner says he is pushing for his county’s votes to be counted next weekend, but conceded that it seems improbable those votes could provide Paul what he needs to overcome Romney’s statewide lead. Still, “The people of Washington County, they certainly deserve to have their votes counted,” said Gardner. “We are going to proceed and we will push to have our votes counted.”
Independent analysts said any change in the Maine tally now wouldn’t cause much of a stir nationally. While Romney’s win in the previously low-profile Maine caucuses drew some national media attention and gave Romney a morale boost, much more crucial GOP nominating contests are ahead, analysts said. Paul, a Texas congressman who has yet to win a primary contest, is considered an unlikely candidate to capture his party’s nomination. A change in the Maine tally would be “a footnote on page B-19,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.