The GOP Maine Caucus that never ended

Maine Maine Maine… it’s the new nine nine nine that won’t go away any time soon.

Many of the counties with large groups of young people were initially delayed. What most people may not realize is that the Maine Caucus timeline is an anomaly among primary states, spanning the entire month of February and parts of both January and March. And proceedings don’t truly end until the first Sunday of May. The kicker is the delegates are never even bound to a presidential candidate.

Even with all these stop and start delays between counties, Ron Paul may yet have a significant victory in Maine according to Reuters:

When the chairman of the Belfast Caucus Committee telephoned his results showing a Paul victory to the state’s Republican headquarters, he was told they already had the numbers. Those numbers mysteriously — and inaccurately — showed a Romney victory in Belfast. When the final tally for Maine’s caucus was announced, zero votes from Belfast were included. Interestingly, not a single case of excluded caucus results supporting Romney has been publicly identified yet.

Gardner expects a large turnout this Saturday. “Based upon the fact that this year’s caucuses ginned up a lot of interest, we were anticipating there would be north of 200 people there,” the county GOP chairman told Dave Weigel at “Now that we’ve gotten the attention, the amount of attendees we’ll see is anyone’s guess. I’d be shocked if we saw lower turnouts as a result of this.”

Sentiment around Maine is that Ron Paul will likely win the Washington County caucuses to be held this coming Saturday. He only received eight votes from the county in 2008, but statewide in 2012, even without the votes in question from Waldo County, Belfast and Waterville, Paul almost doubled his vote total from 2008. Romney, on the other hand, saw his statewide vote count decline from 2,837 votes in 2008 to 2,190 votes in 2012. Another factor is that Washington County has both a proud, independent tradition in electoral politics and the kind of community and public college population that often provides support for Ron Paul.

But even if Paul doesn’t win, the electoral process has still been tainted. Not allowing people in at least a county and a half to have their preferences registered in Maine’s caucuses, particularly those in areas that all political observers believe favor one candidate, skews the results and undermines democratic input.

The Republican Party in Maine has clearly dropped the ball on their caucuses. Ron Paul’s votes have been grossly under-reported, pre-reported, and overall distorted, but now even the media that was ultimately complicit in an electoral charade is shying away on this one. Don’t be surprised if it spurs a lot of reform hubbub in Maine in the coming months.

As his son Rand Paul famously quipped, “the Republican Party is an empty vessel unless we imbue it with values.” The Maine GOP seems to desperately need some.

Beyond Maine, Ron Paul organizational powerhouse is beginning to show real signs of upsetting the GOP applecart — by gaining the upper hand on delegate-pledging in primary states after the ballots are cast.

Katrina Trinko at the National Review explains, “[N]one of those states have bound delegates, that means the state’s delegates to the national convention could theoretically vote for someone besides Santorum for the nomination, someone like say, Ron Paul, whose campaign is aggressively working to control as many state delegates as possible.” This has a lot of establishment panties in a twist, because the strategy is sound.

It seems Paul is betting long on courage being contagious when the delegates are packed into the same room, as Trinko points out that this only counts if the primary slogs on all the way to a brokered convention. “But if there is a brokered convention — which is not out of the realm of possibility this cycle — it will matter if most or a significant chunk of delegates are Paul supporters,” she said.

The revolution’s grassroots is alive and well raising another $1.25 million dollars in the span of a couple days (a Valentine’s Day money bomb, which surely outraged anyone dating a paultard). Meaning we’ll probably see the Ron Paul shitstorm come to a head at the convention.

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