Recently by Thomas R. Eddlem: Was Maine Stolen From Ron Paul?
Will Mitt Romney’s "victory" in the February 11 Maine presidential caucuses be taken away like his phony victory in Iowa? That now seems quite possible. The Maine GOP declared the former Massachusetts Governor the narrow winner of the state’s presidential caucus February 11, but Romney’s 194-vote margin of victory over Texas Congressman Ron Paul is being whittled away as more results have been reported.
Moreover, the state’s rural Washington County – along with a few other communities that postponed their caucuses February 11 – will hold the final caucuses Saturday, February 18 and may decide the victor of the non-binding straw poll.
But GOP Party Chairman Charlie Webster insists that he will not release updated results from the additional caucuses, even as he comes under increasing fire from his fellow Maine Republicans and national Ron Paul campaign officials. In results in the three counties that have been released to the public, Ron Paul won more votes than were reported in the official results. Webster claims that the missing votes – when all of them are counted — will favor Romney, and that he is not going to give the press access to updated results. “No one has access,” he told the Daily Caller February 15. “There will be no access. We will give it to the committee on March 10. We are not going to release them [the missing votes]. People can whine and complain and plead, but I’m not going to make them public.”
Webster admits there were clerical errors in the tally on February 11. “What I tell people is that I’m not going to fire my staff because they make clerical errors,” he told the Daily Caller. “My poor staffer is in tears, because people are harassing her.”
Washington County, which will caucus February 18, has some powerful party officials who are already complaining about Webster’s claim he will not announce updated results. “I think it’s not surprising that there would be very strong objections to the notion that our votes wouldn’t count in Washington County,” Maine Senate President Kevin Raye (R-Perry) told the Bangor Daily News February 14. “I’ve made known my position that those votes should count and the [GOP] chair said he would take that request to the state committee.” Raye’s district is in Washington County.
While Paul campaign officials immediately balked about the Maine GOP Chairman’s premature decision to award Romney the victory in advance of the Washington County caucuses, errors in the official vote totals have metastasized as more results have become known. "It’s no longer just about Washington County," the Christian Science Monitor reported February 15. "There are towns whose votes went uncounted, and other towns whose caucus dates are yet to come. Plus – and here’s the big finish – the Paul forces are now fully alerted, and if you’ve ever been on their wrong side, you know what that means. Their social media organizations are going to be focused on turning out more caucus attendees than the Washington County GOP has ever seen."