Michael Brendan Dougherty
February 12, 2012
Maine’s Republican Party reported the results of their state caucus tonight, even though not all of Maine has finished voting, and not all the votes have really been counted.
Mitt Romney won 39% with 2,190 total votes.
Ron Paul came in second at 36% with 1,996 votes.
Rick Santorum cam in third 18%; 989 votes.
Newt Gingrich was fourth with 6%; 349 votes).
But of course the Caucus results are non-binding, and there may be more votes coming in.
If the outstanding votes tip for Ron Paul (and they might, since the outstanding votes are mostly from rural areas), Mitt Romney may be dealing with a replay of the Iowa Caucuses where he is declared a winner the night after voting stops, but then has the victory snatched away later.
So what are the takeaways?
1) Mitt Romney avoided more bad news. A win for Romney in Maine is nothing to brag about, but this ‘victory’ isn’t a shame either. An outright defeat by Paul would have sent the media into talk of Romney going 0-4 in February.
2) Ron Paul still slightly underperforms when the votes come in. In part it could be that some of his supporters have been so disillusioned with politics for so long that they are more difficult to get to the polls or to make participate in caucuses.
3) No one in the media has any idea how many delegates Ron Paul is actually amassing in these contests. Is it a lot, or is this just talk from the Paul campaign. Everyone seems to be aware that his campaign is training people to volunteer to be delegates. But there is no way to really count them until the convention at Tampa.
4) These results aren’t really final.