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Mitt Romney narrowly wins Maine Republican caucuses

The first victory, Maine, will do much to boost his campaign that seemed have looked a bit deflated. Branded the frontrunner from the start of the race, he has struggled with the party’s base.

world Updated: Feb 12, 2012 23:11 IST
Yashwant Raj

Former Massachusetts governor ended the week rather nicely two poll-type contests on Saturday — the Maine Republican caucuses and a conservative congregation straw poll.

Not a bad end to a terrible week.

After a stunning victory in the electorally crucial state of Nevada, he lost three states last Tuesday, all of them former senator Rick Santorum.

The first victory, Maine, will do much to boost his campaign that seemed have looked a bit deflated. Branded the frontrunner from the start of the race, he has struggled with the party’s base.

And that would make the second victory of Saturday — a straw poll at the annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Committee — would be the sweetest.

The two-day congregation of Republican party faithfuls -- lay members and donors -- was addressed by three of the four candidates. Only Ron Paul stayed away.

Congressman Paul’s search for his first win continues. But this was best yet showing, he came close to call it — yes, himself — it could be called a tie, 36 per cent to Romney’s 39.

Maine has been most unusual contest yet. The Republicans there have been caucusing — meetings — since last week of January. In all about 5,600 Republicans voted. The Maine contest will have limited impact for the winner and implications for the losers, so much so that Santorum and New Gingrich swung around it, on to bigger battles ahead.

The scorecard so far is: Romney and Santorum are tied at the top with four wins yet, Gingrich won one and Paul has still to win his first.

Their next contest are primaries in the big states Arizona and Michigan on February 28, with a live debate ahead of it on February 22, usually an opportunity.