Will Ron Paul win Maine caucuses after all? State GOP taking new tally.

The state GOP says a new vote total for the Maine caucuses that tackles all outstanding issues will be announced in March, though it has no bearing on the real prize for Ron Paul: delegates. 

Robert F. Bukaty/AP
Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, is accompanied by his wife Carol Paul, as he speaks to his supporters following his loss in the Maine caucus to Mitt Romney, Saturday, in Portland, Maine.

Ron Paul might win the Maine caucus presidential preference contest after all.

The Maine state GOP on Thursday announced that in essence it will announce a new total for the straw poll in early March that will include results from Washington County, which has yet to caucus. State Republican chair Charlie Webster added that the party is contacting town officials throughout Maine to “reconfirm” results of caucuses already held.

“All Republicans are keenly aware of the intense interest in the results of the Maine Republican Party Presidential Preference Poll,” said Mr. Webster in a statement.

Translation: We’re getting hammered because we declared Mitt Romney the caucus poll winner, despite the fact that the vote was incomplete – Washington County canceled due to weather. Oh, and those zeroes entered next to towns that did caucus in the vote totals? We’re looking into it. Sorry.

OK, we’ll admit we were wrong – we did not think Pine Tree State Republicans would go this far. We’ve been covering this in close detail and we thought everybody up there wanted to get past the debacle and get to mud season as soon as possible.

But we know what it’s like to get on the wrong side of the Ron Paul forces – the e-mails cause all your mobile devices to melt. And Webster was getting further pressure from national GOP figures about the Maine mess calling the whole caucus system into question. After all, victory in the Iowa caucuses got passed around like a deli platter. First, it was offered to Romney, and then handed to Rick Santorum. After that nobody in Nevada could properly add up their caucus votes, apparently. Then Maine. It’s enough to make you dream of the logic of a national primary day.

By the way, Ron Paul himself was noncommittal on the question of a Maine recount. His campaign has emphasized that the preference poll there was nonbinding, and that the real contest was for delegates to the state GOP convention, which will allocate Maine’s delegates to the national confab in Tampa in August.

That’s what we’ve called Paul’s “secret ninja strategy” to do better than the media thinks in caucus results. His campaign has now released some claims as to how this has worked so far. In the Minnesota caucuses, for instance, Paul won 27 percent of the presidential preference vote, but 75 percent of the delegates chosen to attend the state convention are Paul supporters. In the Colorado caucuses, Paul got only 12 percent of the vote, but 50 percent of the state delegates are Paul supporters.

That’s what the Paul campaign claims, anyway.

“Ultimately, the odds that Paul could get enough delegates to swing the national convention to a vote nominating him are nil. But the more delegates Paul controls, the more of an impact he can have on determining the GOP platform at the convention,” writes Katrina Trinko at National Review Online.

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