AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Mitt Romney won the presidential
preference voting among Maine Republicans on Saturday in the
party's municipal caucuses, which were heavily attended across the
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, had a little over
half of the vote with about two-thirds of the towns holding
caucuses reporting. John McCain worked to keep his vote above 20
percent, trailed by Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee.
The nonbinding votes, the first step toward electing 18 Maine
delegates to the Republican National Convention, were taking place
in public schools, Grange halls, fire stations and town halls
across the state.
Despite a sleet storm the night before that left much of the
state coated with slush and ice Saturday morning, cars jammed the
parking lot outside an Augusta elementary school where Kennebec
County municipalities were caucusing.
Signs promoting the candidates were jabbed in snowbanks, and
inside the school gym speeches were given on behalf of candidates
as around 300 party members listened and occasionally broke into
Kim Pettengill, who has been a party activist for more than
three decades, said Saturday's was the largest Kennebec County
caucus turnout since 1980, the year Ronald Reagan won his first GOP
nomination for president.
Party Executive Director Julie O'Brien said other counties
reported similarly heavy turnouts.
Republican caucuses were being held in about 410 Maine
municipalities, most on Saturday. A few dozen towns, especially in
northern Maine's Aroostook County, held caucuses Friday, and a few
more were set for Sunday and later this month.
The Maine Democrats hold their presidential preference votes at
municipal caucuses on Feb. 10.
On the Net:
Maine Republican Party: www.mainegop.com
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)