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February 2, 2008

Romney Wins The Maine Caucus

Mitt Romney got a good jump on Super Tuesday tonight in Maine, where he won the state Republican caucus by a wide margin over John McCain. With two-thirds of precincts reporting, Romney won over half of the vote in a state known more for its independent streak:

Mitt Romney won the presidential preference voting among Maine Republicans on Saturday in the party's municipal caucuses, which were heavily attended across the state.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, had a little over half of the vote with about two-thirds of the towns holding caucuses reporting. John McCain worked to keep his vote above 20 percent, trailed by Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee.

The nonbinding votes, the first step toward electing 18 Maine delegates to the Republican National Convention, were taking place in public schools, Grange halls, fire stations and town halls across the state.

The win comes at a moment when Romney could use a boost. He has trailed in polls in several of the significant Super Tuesday contests, and he needs some momentum. McCain might have expected to do a little better than 30 points behind in a state that elects Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, Republicans who resemble McCain more than Romney. Of course, Romney comes from the New England region and has that advantage in the region.

Ron Paul's supporters, meanwhile, have yet another piece of the ground hewn from under their feet. Maine was supposedly another state primed to launch the Revolution, following similar claims about New Hampshire, Wyoming, and Nevada. He managed to beat Huckabee and could possibly still edge McCain with a late surge, but he won't make up 33 points on Romney in the final 32% of the precincts. He hasn't come close to winning a state yet, and the Ronulans have just about run out of options for the magic state.


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