The Maine Caucus is done, and Mitt Romney won. That should be the end of the story… but it’s not. The story twists, dips, curls and backflips with a couple of loop-de-loops. Before we get into this roller-coaster ride, it should be noted that this is just a caucus – meaning it is not binding. Even keeping that in mind, the progression of events and the eventual result still are both laughable AND frightening.
First there was the alleged ‘leaking’ of results not hours but DAYS before the actual caucus. There have been numerous reports of charts/results being accidentally put out on line well in advance of the actual day of caucus. Granted, the caucus voting period is several days long, so it is plausible that some early numbers could be released in advance. These allegedly leaked numbers showed Romney well ahead of all other contenders and considering that Maine and New Hampshire border each other, that would not be a surprise. The surprising thing is that the allegedly leaked numbers showed Ron Paul coming in 3rd place.
On the actual caucus “final date”, one of the prime caucuses was cancelled due to snow, and was rescheduled for February 18th – this precinct reportedly was very much in favor of Ron Paul and also Gingrich. The state was called as a victory for Mitt Romney, but at the time of this writing, all the ballots have yet to be counted. It should also be noted that the caucus delegates do not have a formal ballot, but they can write whatever name they choose on any type of paper they choose – even if it were to be a bar napkin.
So with 84% or so of the vote counted, and the votes written on scraps of paper, and caucuses being given a “snow day” – it is easy to see how someone might think that sorting this caucus out is an excercise in futility. Then again, it’s 20 delegates and if you’re the candidate down by 19 on Convention day, the main thing will be to keep the Maine thing the main thing.
Update February 13, 2012 – For the past few days the Maine GOP has been considering NOT counting the votes from the caucus that they themselves rescheduled. Now, after several days of curious inquiry, they are considering including the ballots - It would be a shame if the Maine GOP did not keep to their word, and the date that they scheduled, because if they do not, I humbly suggest that ALL Maine Delegates be removed from the Convention. It is the responsiblity of a state to get their caucus in order… if they cannot do that for their own state, what confidence can the voting public have in their ability to select the right GOP candidate for the Republican Nomination.