- Associated Press - Saturday, March 5, 2016

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) - The Latest on Maine’s GOP caucus (all Eastern Standard Time):

9:30 p.m.

Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has beaten New York businessman Donald Trump in Maine’s GOP presidential caucuses, gathering nearly 46 percent of the vote.

The party made the announcement Saturday night. It says Cruz had 8,550 votes to Trump’s 6,070. Because Cruz did not win a majority, the delegates are being split with 12 for Cruz, nine for Trump and two for Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sihk). Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio gets none.

Party chairman Rick Bennett says turnout was “extraordinary” at the 22 caucus locations.



The GOP says 18,650 votes were cast. That’s more than triple the number of votes in 2012.

The victory by Cruz comes as opponents of GOP front-runner Trump try to stop his momentum after his strong showing on Super Tuesday.

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8:55 p.m.

The Maine Republican Party says Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has beaten New York businessman Donald Trump in the state’s GOP presidential caucuses.

The party made the announcement Saturday night. It says Cruz had 8,550 votes to Trump’s 6,070.

Cruz gets 12 delegates. Trump gets nine delegates. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sihk) gets two delegates. Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio gets none.

The victory by Cruz comes as opponents of GOP front-runner Trump try to stop his momentum after his strong showing on Super Tuesday.

Cruz came to the state Friday to campaign at the University of Maine a day after Trump rallied supporters in Portland.

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7:45 p.m.

Maine GOP Chairman Rick Bennett says turnout at the state Republican caucuses is going to be at least triple the tally from 2012.

The Associated Press reported in 2012 that 5,814 votes were cast.

A combination of strong voter turnout, many first-time voters and consolidated caucus locations led to crowded caucuses on Saturday.

Returns from several counties suggest Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is giving New York businessman Donald Trump a run for his money in Maine’s Republican presidential caucuses.

But the party still has not released the official numbers from all 22 caucus sites.

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5:30 p.m.

Some unofficial returns suggest Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is giving New York businessman Donald Trump a run for his money in Maine’s Republican presidential caucuses.

The tally released at the Lewiston caucus site on Saturday shows Cruz with 662 votes to Trump’s 482. Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is third with 118. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sihk) has 102.

Numbers trickling out from other locations have Cruz or Trump winning.

Maine Republican Party officials aren’t releasing official tallies. They don’t plan to do so until after the last caucus ends at 7 p.m.

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This story has been corrected to show Kasich had 102 votes, not 118.

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3:45 p.m.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage is putting in a plug for his candidate, Donald Trump, at the state’s GOP presidential caucuses.

Speaking in Lewiston, LePage described Trump as a “true blue American” who understands money and is a tough negotiator - two skills that would serve him well as president.

LePage introduced Trump at a rally Thursday in Portland. A day later, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz held a rally at the University of Maine in Orono.

Both candidates had plenty of supporters at the caucuses. Maine GOP Chairman Rick Bennett said he thinks there will be a record number of votes cast.

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3:15 p.m.

Those interested in the outcome of the Maine GOP presidential caucuses will have to wait until the caucusing is complete for official tallies.

Maine Republican Party officials originally said they’d vet tallies from the 22 regional caucus locations and then release them throughout the day.

But the party shifted gears on Saturday. Officials now say no official vote counts will be released until the last caucus ends at 7 p.m.

GOP Chairman Rick Bennett said turnout continues to be strong. He said he expects it’ll far exceed last the 2012 caucus, when more than 5,000 voters came out.

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12:45 p.m.

A combination of regional voting locations and strong turnout by the GOP is leading to busy presidential caucuses across Maine.

Many first-time caucus-goers were among the throngs who turned out in Chelsea, where Republicans from capital-area towns gathered Saturday. Some people had to park a half-mile from the school, and then had to wait in the cold to get inside.

The scene is playing out at many of the other 21 caucus locations.

Deborah Carey, of Readfield, said she voted for Donald Trump. She said Republicans need a candidate who’ll “get in the trenches and fight.”

Kathy Smith of Mount Vernon voted for Ted Cruz. She criticized Democrats Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, calling them a “communist and a criminal.”

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This story has been updated to show that voter Kathy Smith, not Deborah Carey, called Sanders and Clinton “a communist and a criminal,” not a “communist and a crook.”

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8:15 a.m.

Maine Republicans are ready to cast their votes on who should receive the party’s presidential nomination. On Sunday, Democrats will have their say.

Maine is generally neglected by candidates compared to New Hampshire, which boasts the first-in-the-nation primary. But there were three straight days of visits by candidates this week: Democrat Bernie Sanders on Wednesday, and Republicans Donald Trump on Thursday and Ted Cruz on Friday.

Republicans are caucusing at 22 regional locations across the state Saturday.

Unlike in past years, the Maine GOP outcome will be binding on delegates. Any candidate who wins a majority gets all of them. If no one reaches 50 percent, then the 23 delegates will be divided among candidates receiving 10 percent or more of the vote.

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