February 17, 2012 / 5:19 PM / 8 years ago

Maine Republicans to recount votes that gave Romney a win

LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) - Maine’s Republican Party will recount votes in the state’s Republican caucus following complaints that totals from some towns were not included in state results showing a 194-vote victory for Mitt Romney over Ron Paul.

Voters bow their heads during the invocation at a Republican Caucus in Sanford, Maine February 11, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

In addition, Republicans in Maine’s sparsely populated Washington County will hold their caucus on Saturday after an earlier attempt was postponed by a snowstorm.

“We have worked diligently to contact town chairmen throughout Maine to reconfirm the results of their individual caucuses,” Charlie Webster, chairman of the state party, said in a statement.

Webster had been criticized for announcing Romney as the statewide winner on Saturday before votes from all the caucuses had been counted. Fewer than 6,000 people voted in the poll, which is a so-called “beauty contest” that does not bind national delegates to back a particular candidate at the Republican National Convention in August.

A reversal of the initial findings would be a setback for Romney, a former governor of nearby Massachusetts who has been struggling to keep a grip on his front-runner status for the nomination to face Democratic President Barack Obama in the November 6 general election.

It would be the second reversal of a state’s results in the Republican race. Romney was declared the initial winner in Iowa, which kicked off the nominating race, but the final count two weeks later revealed former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum actually had claimed a narrow victory.

Maine had been viewed as the best chance to win a state for Paul, a congressman from Texas whose libertarian views and non-interventionist foreign policy stance puts him outside of the Republican mainstream. But Romney has faced a series of surging rivals, with Santorum now besting him in some national polls.

It is unlikely Paul can make up enough ground to win in Maine, but confusion over the results has intensified interest in those towns that have yet to cast ballots, said Neal Patterson, a Republican state committee member.

“With all the publicity and everything, maybe in Washington County we could have a record turnout,” he said

In the 2008 Republican caucuses in Washington County, only 118 votes were cast and it was won by Senator John McCain, who went on to win the Republican nomination but lose to Obama.

Romney easily won the state that year with 2,837 votes, more than the 2,190 he garnered this year.

Caucuses will also take place in three small towns in Kennebec and Hancock County that have yet to vote.

Results from some towns in remote Waldo County were also not tabulated in the results released on Saturday due to a clerical error, nor were the results from the town of Waterville, home to Colby College. (For full coverage of the U.S. presidential campaign click on

Editing by Vicki Allen

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