Political Animal


February 17, 2012 3:59 PM Another Romney “Victory” Could Become Hollow

By Ed Kilgore

Looks like lightning could strike twice. As you probably recall, Mitt Romney was declared the winner of the Iowa Caucuses on the night of the event, only to later yield the top spot to Rick Santorum when the results were finalized.

Tomorrow in Maine, Republcan caucus-goers in a single county will have the unusual opportunity to overturn last week’s narrow Romney win over Ron Paul, as Katherine Seelye reported last night:

Will Mitt Romney’s victory in Maine’s nonbinding presidential straw poll be overturned?
It seems possible, now that Maine has decided to include in the total vote the results from Washington County, which delayed its caucuses by a week and will vote on Saturday….
Turnout on Saturday in rural Washington County is likely to be much higher than it would have been last week and could be chaotic. Because this is the only county voting — and the margin needed for victory is known — supporters of both Mr. Romney and Mr. Paul could be galvanized to flood the caucus sites.

Sure looks like a heaven-sent opportunity for Paul’s devotees, who excel at packing small rooms. And after the Iowa fiasco, which led to the resignation of the state party chair, another reversal of fortune for Mitt could lead us all to put an asterisk on any close win he registers in the future.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Ron Byers on February 17, 2012 4:26 PM:

    Did the Maine Republican party release the revised numbers from last Saturday. Several caucuses were not counted initially. It could be Paul is already in the lead. Of course, this is a beauty pageant only.

  • BLink on February 17, 2012 4:32 PM:

    From what I've heard, there were something like 113 votes cast in that county in the previous election's caucus, and 8 or so went to Paul. Paul's deficit for this year's state-wide caucus is over 200 votes. (wonks who follow this stuff, feel free to correct me, but I think my proportions are pretty close)

    If this year wasn't such a free-for-all (hello, Citizens United) there wouldn't be any tension about these results at all. But given the Paul base's rabidness, and the fact this story is all over the political blogs, it could be a pretty surprising contest.

  • Danp on February 17, 2012 4:46 PM:

    If Paul pulls it out will the media report on the premature declaration for Romney, the fact that absentee ballots hadn't been counted, that the caucuses don't determine who gets national delegates, or that the state GOP chairman called the caucuses "a beauty contest"? They didn't cover the GOP effort to end early voting. I doubt they will do anything to tarnish Mitt's claim to Maine.

  • bcinaz on February 17, 2012 6:17 PM:

    Results may have been overturned already, given that the party has decided to count several precincts that were listed as 0 in the vote totals.

    Far be it from me to state the obvious that someone was fixing the totals to "fit the facts" for a Romney win.

  • Cybrguy on February 17, 2012 8:15 PM:

    Hmmm... If this gets reversed I wonder what Intrade is gonna do with those of us who predicted a Paul win in Maine...

  • rikyrah on February 17, 2012 8:46 PM:

    first of all, Willard never won Maine.

    how can you win a state, with SIXTEEN COUNTIES

    that just STOPPED COUNTING THE VOTES once Willard was ahead.

    they totally ignored THREE COUNTIES.

    Rachel Maddow has been all over this.

    since they couldn't come up with 8 mystery votes, like they did in Iowa, they just decided to shut down the vote without counting all the counties.

    and this is the party complaining about voter fraud.