Three US territories held caucuses on Saturday giving Mitt Romney victories in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands while Ron Paul took the US Virgin Islands. Residents in US territories cannot actually vote in the General Election, however, under party rules, they are allowed to send delegates to the party conventions.
Report on North Marianas and Guam from USAToday:
SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (AP) – Another victory for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. He’s won the Republican caucus in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, picking up nine delegates from the U.S. territory.
Romney won 87% of the 848 votes cast Saturday on the main islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota.
Rick Santorum got 6%. Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich got 3% each on the main island of Saipan.
Romney was considered the favorite. His son Matt and wife Laurie visited Saipan, and he was endorsed by Gov. Benigno R. Fitial, chairman of the island’s Republican Party.
Fitial says he and the eight other delegates will support Romney at the Republican National Convention in Florida.
Romney also picked up all nine delegates from Guam during the GOP state convention there Saturday.
Report on the US Virgin Islands also from USAToday:
ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) – The Republican Party chairman in the U.S. Virgin Islands says Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney has won the territory’s GOP caucus.
Chairman Herb Schoenbohm says Romney can count on seven delegates from the Virgin Islands. He already had three superdelegates before Saturday’s caucuses and he picked up three more in voting in St. Thomas and St. Croix. After the vote, an uncommitted delegate switched to Romney.
Ron Paul got one delegate, and one delegate remains uncommitted.
Residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands can participate in primaries but like residents of nearby Puerto Rico cannot vote in the general election.
There is typically little attention given to these small contests, however, in a year where every delegate will matter, the Romney team sent Mitt’s son Matt Romney along with his wife to campaign in some of these island contests. That speaks to how Romney is not taking any delegates for granted at this point and clearly they know they have to fight for each and every one moving forward.
Originally this story stated, as reported by USAToday and the US Virgin Islands GOP Chairman, that Mitt Romney won the US Virgin Islands caucus. In the popular vote count, Ron Paul won the US Virgin Islands caucus while Mitt Romney will walk away with the most delegates due to the rules of the US VI caucusing system.
See this report from WHNT:
Ron Paul got the most votes in the Republican Caucus in the Virgin Islands, but Mitt Romney walked away with more delegates. Why? The caucus system is a complicated one in the Virgin Islands.
Romney received 7 delegates, to Ron Paul’s 1. However, Paul received 112 votes, to Romney’s 101.
So here is why. In the Virgin Islands, you cast a vote for a candidate and you then vote for delegates. That’s just like it is here in Alabama. But unlike Alabama, where you must vote for a delegate that matches the person you chose for President, in the Virgin Islands you can vote for whomever you want.
So while more people voted for Paul to be their Presidential nominee, when they then voted for delegates, they gave more votes to the people representing Mitt Romney.
Thank you to the commenters for pointing out this discrepancy. Without checking into it further, it would appear on face value from USAToday/Associated Press that Mitt Romney “won” the caucus which implies he won the most votes which was not the case.