With the Maine caucus approaching on Saturday, candidates are finishing some last minute campaigning. Political analysts are predicting that Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) will be the favored to win because of all the candidates, he has concentrated the most time and money on this state and has already gathered an army of supporters.
Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich haven't put in any time in Maine, so it will likely be a two-man contest between Mitt Romney and the Texas congressman. Paul has yet to win a 2012 GOP primary contest, but he will capture his first victory on Saturday because he has concentrated much more of his time and resources on the state than has Romney.
At first glance, it seemed that Romney would trump the other candidates in the GOP race, but with an inconsistent winning pattern and a suddenly surging Rick Santorum, it seems that there is no clear-cut front-runner in Maine. After Santorum won Tuesday’s contests in Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado, Romney has lost momentum he gathered. If he loses another primary, even a small state like Maine, the GOP front-runner could face heavy causalities in the race. Critics will raise questions of skepticism on the durability of his GOP candidacy.
Romney's win in Florida propelled him into first by an overwhelming margin over the other candidates. But he was able to procure so many votes partly because he spent a whopping $15.9 million there to retaliate against Gingrich's negative ads and comments. Money plays an integral part in Romney's victories. He tends to lose when he stops using his resources to crush his contenders, as most recently evident in Santorum's victories. Because he has not created enough of a presence for himself in Maine, it is very likely that Saturday will be his fourth consecutive loss.
The problem with Paul is that he has remained relatively passive thus far. In Maine, he has drummed up a lot of support, especially from millennials and strong conservatives, but has appeared lackadaisical so far in the GOP race. What Paul has done in Maine is just what he needs to do on a regular basis. I have no doubts that he will secure Maine, but if he hopes to rival against Romney in future contests, then he must be more proactive.
Ultimately, Maine is a non-binding state that rewards no delegates, but helps drive voter turnout and support. His victory will not have as much of an impact on him, as it will for Romney's track record.
Romney's most important asset in the race could be his political action committee, Restore Our Future. Through individual contributions and donations, it has raised nearly $31 million so far. But even with so much money invested in his campaign, Romney will not be able to obtain Maine. The voters have already drawn their allegiances, and they want Paul.
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