- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mitt Romney won Maine’s caucuses on Saturday, with the announcement coming just hours after he also won The Washington Times/CPAC Presidential Straw Poll in Washington — a one-two punch that boosts him during the next two weeks, when there are no more contests.

With most votes counted, Mr. Romney was winning 39 percent of the vote in Maine, according to the state’s GOP, topping Rep. Ron Paul’s 36 percent, Rick Santorum’s 18 percent and Newt Gingrich’s 6 percent of the vote.

“The voters of Maine have sent a clear message that it is past time to send an outsider to the White House, a conservative with a lifetime of experience in the private sector, who can uproot Washington’s culture of taxing and spending and borrowing and endless bureaucracy,” Mr. Romney said in a statement.

The caucuses had been going on for more than a week.

Mr. Paul had invested the most time and effort personally in Maine, but was edged out by Mr. Romney.

It’s Mr. Romney’s fourth victory following primaries in New Hampshire and Florida and Nevada’s caucuses last weekend. Mr. Santorum has wins in Iowa, Colorado and Minnesota as well as in Missouri’s non-binding primary, while Mr. Gingrich won South Carolina’s primary.

Despite being well-funded and touting his organizational strength, Mr. Paul has yet to win a contest.

But his campaign said it believes it will end up winning a majority of Maine’s delegates to the national nominating convention when they are selected at the still-to-come state convention.

“We are confident that we will control the Maine delegation for the convention in August,” said campaign chairman Jesse Benton.

Mr. Romney had won Maine’s caucuses in 2008 as well, garnering 52 percent that time.

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