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Romney Wins Maine Caucuses

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While all the political (and media-generated) momentum seems to be on John McCain's side, Mitt Romney won a small, but perhaps important battle this weekend by overwhelmingly winning the Maine Republican caucuses (the Democratic caucuses will be held on Feburary 10th).

The GOP caucuses took place across the state from Friday through Sunday, with most completed by Saturday night. The caucus votes are nonbinding but, based on the results, the Associated Press estimates Romney will win all 18 delegates stemming from the caucus process. The state has 21 delegates to the GOP convention overall.

With 68 percent reporting at the end of Saturday, the results were:

Romney = 52%
McCain = 21%
Paul = 19%
Huckabee = 6%
Undecided = 2%

McCain had been endorsed by both of Maine's moderate Republican Senators—Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins.

Despite its nonbinding status, the Maine caucuses may be a good sign for Romney. Romney is counting on finishing first in several caucus states on Super Tuesday to stay in the race for the GOP nomination, essentially ceding several primary contests to McCain—especially in the South and Northeast. Caucus states are generally thought to favor Romney as they are more frequently attended by conservatives and "true blood" Republicans, as opposed to the Republican moderates and independents which comprise the base of McCain's support in primaries.

Montana, Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota, and West Virginia are all holding cacuses on February 5th. With Romney scoring a caucus win in a Northeastern state like Maine, expect him to finish first in most of the western caucus states (Romney had already won the Wyoming and Nevada caucuses).

McCain's advantage coming into Tuesday, however, is significant, as his likely wins in the Northeast give him much bigger delegate prizes (several states are winner-take-all on the GOP side) than those states in which Romney is projected to be competitive.

Over the next 24 hours Smart Politics will be posting its Super Tuesday Preview for both the GOP and Democrats.

Previous post: MPR / HHH MN Senate Poll: Franken & Coleman in Dead Heat
Next post: California a Toss Up for the GOP

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Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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