Romney Narrowly Wins Maine Caucuses
WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney added to his lead in the race for delegates Saturday with a narrow victory in the Maine Republican presidential caucuses.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, won 11 delegates and Texas Rep. Ron Paul won 10, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were shut out.
Romney leads the overall race for delegates with 123, including endorsements from members of the Republican National Committee who automatically attend the party's national convention and can support any candidate they choose.
Santorum has 72 delegates, Gingrich has 32 and Paul has 19. The race for delegates is still in the early stages. It will take 1,144 delegates to win the Republican nomination for president.
Maine's delegates to the party's national convention are not bound by the results of local caucuses. The caucuses were the first in a multistep process to award the state's delegates.
However, the AP analysis showed Romney would win most of Maine's delegates, if he maintains the same level of support throughout the process.
Maine held local caucuses throughout the week. The results were announced Saturday evening, even though some communities have yet to hold their caucuses.
Romney won 39 percent of the vote and Paul got 36 percent. Santorum trailed with 18 percent and Gingrich got 6 percent.
Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster said results from future caucuses would not be tallied. Those communities, however, will send delegates to the party's state convention, where national delegates are selected.
The AP calculates the number of national convention delegates won by candidates in each presidential primary or caucus, based on state and national party rules. Most primaries and some caucuses are binding, meaning delegates won by the candidates are pledged to support that candidate at the national conventions this summer.
Political parties in some states, including Maine, use local caucuses to elect delegates to state or congressional district conventions, where national delegates are selected. In these states, the AP uses the results from local caucuses to calculate the number of national delegates each candidate will win, if the candidates maintain the same level of support.
The AP will update delegate totals if support for the candidates changes. The AP also interviews RNC delegates, who can support any candidate they choose, to see which one they support.