AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Republican Party has reversed course and will recommend that delayed caucus results from Washington County be included in its final presidential poll tally. The party also is reconfirming results from local caucuses in the wake of the recent controversy over how its presidential caucuses were handled.
“The results of the Washington County caucus will be reviewed at the March 10 Republican State Committee meeting,” Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster said in a prepared statement approved by the state party’s executive committee.
“The executive committee voted unanimously to recommend to the state committee that they include the results in the final tally for the presidential preference poll as their caucus had been scheduled to occur by the February 11 deadline, however it was postponed due to inclement weather. “
The party has been under fire this week for reporting on Saturday that Mitt Romney won Maine by taking 39 percent of votes in a presidential preference poll conducted during the state’s caucuses.
Ron Paul came in second with 36 percent of votes, but the results did not include Washington County, which postponed its caucuses because of weather, or nearly all of Waldo County, whose towns were omitted in what the party has called a clerical error.
The margin of victory for Romney was less than 200 votes.
In addition, the executive committee is working to reconfirm results that were turned in before Feb. 11
“We have worked diligently to contact town chairmen throughout Maine to reconfirm the results of their individual caucuses. These totals, once confirmed, will be posted on the Maine Republican Party website,” Webster’s statement said.
“All Republicans are keenly aware of the intense interest in the results of the Maine Republican Party presidential preference poll,” the statement continued. “In fact, I have had numerous conversations with Senate President Kevin Raye and Washington County Commissioner Chris Gardner regarding their concerns that the Washington County poll results be included in our final tally.
“As a result of these conversations I called a meeting of the executive committee to discuss this matter.”
Paul’s campaign said Thursday, before the state GOP announcement, that the candidate would not request a recount in Maine because it believes Paul ultimately will carry a majority of delegates here.
The situation has parallels to January’s Iowa caucuses. Iowa initially awarded its caucus win to Romney only to discover about two weeks later that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum actually had won.