Although Texas Congressman Ron Paul had a strong showing in the Maine caucus, one of his presidential campaign officials is questioning the state Republican Party's decision to cancel the Maine Washington County caucus due to snow.
Could Texas Congressman Ron Paul still win the Maine presidential preference poll this weekend? Did the Maine Republican Party steal a potential victory from the libertarian-leaning representative? These key questions are being asked not only by the Ron Paul camp, but also by media outlets.
On Saturday, many analysts expected Paul to garner his first win of the Republican primary/caucus season. Unfortunately for the three-time presidential candidate, he lost by a small 194-vote margin to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Some counties will still be holding caucuses, though, including Washington County, which had to postpone its scheduled Saturday caucus due to a snowstorm that was forecasted. Maine GOP officials have stated that their results are final, but Chris Gardner, County Republican Chair, said his county will conduct the straw poll and report it to the state.
“Refusal to reconsider under those circumstances would be extremely disheartening. I trust that the party will make the right decision here,” said Gardner in an interview with the Associated Press (via Bangor Daily News). “We will proceed next Saturday. We’ll have our vote and we are going to submit it to the state party for them to reconsider.”
But was the reasoning to postpone the Washington County poll legitimate? Some officials from the Paul campaign are saying that even though they will come out with the most number of delegates in Maine, they would have won the entire contest if it wasn’t “for their excuse.”
“In Washington County – where Ron Paul was incredibly strong – the caucus was delayed until next week just so the votes wouldn’t be reported by the national media today. Of course, their excuse for the delay was ‘snow,’” said John Tate, the Ron Paul 2012 Campaign Manager, in a press release.
“That’s right. A prediction of 3-4 inches – that turned into nothing more than a dusting – was enough for a local GOP official to postpone the caucuses just so the results wouldn’t be reported tonight. “This is MAINE we’re talking about. The GIRL SCOUTS had an event today in Washington County that wasn’t cancelled! And just the votes of Washington County would have been enough to put us over the top.”
According to WeatherForYou.com, there was only light snow with temperatures hovering below zero.
This has led many Paul supporters to be upset and have telephoned the Maine GOP office expressing their dissatisfaction with the party. However, Gardner, a Romney supporter, defended his decision and he said that the snow was so severe on the roads that a traffic accident occurred, reports the Wall Street Journal.
It is unknown if the Washington County contest would make any difference in the results. In the last election cycle, only 118 voters cast a ballot. It is possible, though, that with all the media attention gained from the controversy and the tight first-place race, the number of voters may increase.
Nevertheless, despite whatever transpires in Maine, Paul remains confident that he will hold a significant amount of delegates in August for the Republican National Convention. Paul’s campaign has been about focusing on caucus states and accumulating delegates.
The latest CBS News/New York Times Republican poll shows that Paul is sitting in third place nationwide with 12 percent support. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has soared to first place with 30 percent, while Romney has dwindled to second place with 27 percent. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich sits in last with 10 percent.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released last week suggested that Paul was polling second nationally with 21 percent, which is the first time this primary season.