The Maine Republican Party is rebutting efforts calling for inclusion of the remaining caucus precincts that were not counted in the “official” caucus results released last Saturday, February 11. Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster says he will not release any other results to the public and claims that the results would still show Mitt Romney the winner regardless.
Report from The New American:
The Maine GOP declared the former Massachusetts Governor the narrow winner of the state’s presidential caucus February 11, but Romney’s 194-vote margin of victory over Texas Congressman Ron Paul is being whittled away as more results have been reported.
Moreover, the state’s rural Washington County — along with a few other communities that postponed their caucuses February 11 — will hold the final caucuses Saturday, February 18 and may decide the victor of the non-binding straw poll.
But GOP Party Chairman Charlie Webster insists that he will not release updated results from the additional caucuses, even as he comes under increasing fire from his fellow Maine Republicans and national Ron Paul campaign officials. In results in the three counties that have been released to the public, Ron Paul won more votes than were reported in the official results. Webster claims that the missing votes — when all of them are counted — will favor Romney, and that he is not going to give the press access to updated results. “No one has access,” he told the Daily Caller February 15. “There will be no access. We will give it to the committee on March 10. We are not going to release them [the missing votes]. People can whine and complain and plead, but I’m not going to make them public.”
Webster admits there were clerical errors in the tally on February 11. “What I tell people is that I’m not going to fire my staff because they make clerical errors,” he told the Daily Caller. “My poor staffer is in tears, because people are harassing her.”
First and foremost, no one should be harassed over this issue or made to feel threatened due to clerical errors or the Party Chairman’s decision. This isn’t worth emotional or physical harm and I empathize with those feeling the wrath of overzealous, outraged Ron Paul supporters (ahem).
I think this is going to be a lingering issue for the Maine GOP moving forward. Clearly the Paul campaign, among others, will demand access to the remaining uncounted ballots to see how the caucus results actually turned out. On the other hand, this caucus is non-binding and doesn’t count for anything more than bragging rights. However, it still doesn’t sit well with me personally to see an “official” count include only 84% of the vote, especially given the margin of a mere 200 votes separating first and second place.