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Entries in Maine Caucuses (3)

Sunday
Feb122012

Analysis: Romney Bounces Back after Rough Week

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(PORTLAND, Maine) -- Mitt Romney apparently likes to be the underdog.

Ten days after an unexpected loss in the South Carolina primary, Romney turned on the campaign equivalent of turbo boosters and trounced Gingrich and the rest of the field in the Florida primary.   

On Saturday, Romney was once again on the ropes. A scrappy Rick Santorum swept three contests on Tuesday and national polls were showing a Santorum surge. Pundits and Republican activists criticized Romney for his inability to connect with the base. The term “fragile frontrunner” was once again attached to Romney’s lapel.

And, once again, Romney delivered when he needed it most.  First, came word that Romney had won the CPAC straw poll, beating out Santorum in what should be Santorum-friendly turf.  The Romney campaign credits the ex-Governor’s speech to the CPAC on Friday -- where he laid on the conservative rhetoric really thick -- for his straw poll win.  

Then, just an hour later, Romney was announced as the winner of the Maine caucuses, beating out an aggressive Ron Paul effort in the state. Paul even skipped the CPAC confab -- where he’s won the straw poll two years’ running -- to spend more time in Maine.

To be sure, Romney’s wins Saturday night are not going to put questions to rest about whether he can seal the deal with the conservative primary voters. After all, he won both Maine and CPAC with less than 40 percent of the vote. Moreover, with Paul’s dismal showing Saturday, and his second place showing in the CPAC poll, Santorum can claim the mantle  -- for now -- of the “Romney alternative.”

But, the best news for Romney is that after a very bad week, there’s no bad news for his campaign this weekend.

For now, that counts as victory.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb112012

Romney Claims Victory in Maine

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(PORTLAND, Maine) -- Mitt Romney achieved his second victory on Saturday after being declared the winner of Maine's caucus. Romney, who was also declared the winner of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference's straw poll on Saturday afternoon, won the state with 39 percent of the vote.

Saturday's victories marked a positive end to what had been a bad week for the former Massachusetts governor. After losing the caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota, two states which he carried in 2008, Romney was able to break his streak and regain some of that momentum by carrying Maine for the second primary cycle in a row.

"I thank the voters of Maine for their support," Romney said in a statement. "I'm committed to turning around America. And I'm heartened to have the support of so many good people in this great state."

The results, as expected, were close. Ron Paul came in second place with 36 percent. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich came in third and fourth place, with 18 percent and six percent respectively. Maine holds 24 delegates, but they will not be awarded until May.

Turnout was low in the caucus, though essentially unchanged from 2008. Officials say 5,585 votes were cast over the course of the week-long caucus -- about one percent of the voting eligible population. In 2008, 5,482 votes were cast.

The second-place finish is a disappointment for Ron Paul. The Texas Congressman, who has acknowledged that he needs a win in order to remain a credible candidate for the nomination, believed that Maine was likely his best hope for such a victory, in part because of the state's strong independent streak. Though Romney spent Friday evening and Saturday morning hosting events in Maine, Paul had spent more time stumping in the state than any of his GOP opponents. He was the only candidate in the state when the caucus results were announced.

Paul stated his disappointment in his statement to supports at his Maine headquarters in Portland on Saturday night, but predicted that he will ultimately take the majority of delegate support when the state selects their delegates to the Republican National Convention. He also vowed to keep on going.

"It would have been great to win outright, but it'll even be better to win the delegates" Paul said. "Momentum is going to continue, we're not going away."

The end of Maine's caucus marks the beginning of a two-week break from voting contests. Arizona and Michigan are the next two primaries on the calendar, both states will host their contests on Feb. 28.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb112012

Romney Tells Maine Crowd Washington Spending Out of Control

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(PORTLAND, Maine) -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, appearing at a campaign rally in Portland, Maine, says Washington spending is out of control.

"We can't keep on borrowing more than we take in," Romney told a crowd of supporters Friday. "It's killing our kids' future and it's immoral, and so I'm going to cut the spending in Washington. I will cap how much government spends and I will finally balance our budget."

Romney, who is in Maine for the Saturday caucuses, deflected criticism about his overseas investments.

At a town-hall style meeting, one member of the crowd remarked: "Patriotic of you to stash your money away in the Cayman Islands?"

To which Romney replied, "It's ok. It's a good question. Come on. I gotta take some shots now and then or it won't be interesting."

Romney, who is coming off a trio of losses in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado, is looking to prevent Maine-hopeful Ron Paul from his first win.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio