Saturday, February 11, 2012
Mitt Romney steals Iowa in January, Maine in February
But then, a few weeks later, a new vote total was announced: On Jan. 20, some uncounted votes were “discovered,” and Rick Santorum was declared the winner by 34 votes. Panicked that the establishment favorite would be seen as a loser, Iowa GOP Chair Matt Strawn said no winner could be certified because the votes of eight additional precincts were “missing.” (Strawn resigned as party head Jan. 31).
Romney would go on to win New Hampshire and Florida, but face embarrassing defeats in South Carolina, Colorado,, Minnesota, and Missouri. The last thing Romney needed was yet another defeat in Maine.
And so, Maine State Republican Chairman Charlie Webster announced an hour ago that Mitt Romney won the Maine caucuses with 2,190 votes, and that Ron Paul came in second with 1,996 (39% - 36%). The difference between the two candidates – a mere 194 votes – offers a much-needed, but still razor-thin win by Romney.
But wait....are the caucuses over?
The media have simply parroted Webster’s announcement that Romney has won by 194 votes. But the reality is that 17% of the precincts in Maine have not yet voted - and Webster is insisting he will invalidate them.
Those precincts include voters from the University of Maine at Machias, in the heart of Washington County. Ron Paul has, so far, won the plurality of votes cast among college students in every state in which a primary or caucus has been held.
Maine's caucuses do not all happen at the same time, as each Town decides how to conduct their own caucuses. In Maine, caucuses began as early as February 4 and continued throughout the week. But the results announced this past hour only account for just 83 percent of all of the precincts in the state. Caucuses in Washington County, which were originally scheduled today, were postponed until next weekend because a major snowstorm hit today.
The official weather forecast:
Moderate to heavy snow and strong winds will create very hazardous traveling conditions. Frequent blowing and drifting snow will cause near whiteout conditions at times.
Schools and other meeting facilities were closed.
Is it possible, in a County of almost 33,000 residents and a university campus, that Romney's “victory” margin of only 194 votes might disappear?
Webster doesn’t want to take any chances. In an effort to preserve a Romney victory at all costs, Webster declared that any caucus results that come in after tonight would not, under any circumstances, be counted.
A century and a half ago, there was a common political cliche that said, “As Maine goes, so goes the nation!.” This was not necessarily because Maine was a bellweather state, but because Maine voters would cast their votes in September, rather than on the usual national November Election Day. Yankee pragmatism suggested that the threat of severe winter weather in November should naturally mean that Mainers be given the chance to cast their votes earlier in the season, when they weren’t likely to be battling two feet of snow and freezing rain.
And so, in another pragmatic decision that was supported by a century-old, long-honored Maine tradition, Washington County officials delayed the caucuses because of severe February winter weather. But Webster won't count them.
Apparently, Webster is more interested in disenfranchising voters and securing a Romney win at all costs...making Maine the second state stolen by Mitt Romney in the Republican race for the nomination.