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Ron Paul's secret ninja strategy for Maine caucuses

Ron Paul has a strategy for winning more delegates than caucus results in Maine, Colorado, and elsewhere suggest he would. Patience, grasshopper, and we will explain it to you. 

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That’s the case in most other caucus states, too. (Nevada is different.) As Davidson College political scientist Josh Putnam points out on his invaluable voting process blog Frontloading HQ, “delegates from those states cannot be allocated until, well, they are allocated. In Iowa, Minnesota, Colorado, and over the weekend add Maine to the mix, that won’t happen until the congressional district or state conventions.”

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Paul campaign manager Mr. Tate spelled out some of the practical implications of this in his statement to supporters. In Minnesota, where Paul finished second to Mr. Santorum in the preference poll, “the Paul campaign is well-organized to win the bulk of the delegates there,” according to Tate.

In Colorado, where Paul finished fourth with 12 percent of the vote, the Texas libertarian will end up with more than 12 percent of the state’s delegates, Tate asserted. In Larimer County, where the straw poll vote was 23 for Santorum and 13 for Paul, Paul supporters took all 13 state delegate slots available, for instance. In Delta County, where the preference vote went 22 for Santorum, 12 for Mr. Romney, and 8 for Paul, Paul took all five available delegate slots. And so forth.

It’s possible that the Paul campaign is cherry-picking districts here in an attempt to make their results look good. It’s also possible that Paul has greater underlying delegate strength at the moment than most members of the Pundit Club realize.

Of course, he’ll need those delegates. At the moment, Romney has 94 pledged delegates that count toward the national convention in Tampa, according to a New York Times calculation. Santorum has 71, and Newt Gingrich 29. Paul has eight.

Plus, the total number of delegates at stake in all GOP caucus states this year is 462, by our count. Yet a candidate needs 1,144 delegate votes to win the nomination. Clearly there are limits to any caucus-centric Paul strategy.

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