Mitt Romney could be stripped of Maine win

Elaine Quijano speaks with CBS News political reporter Scott Conroy for more perspective on the race for the GOP presidential nomination.
Mitt Romney wins Maine GOP caucuses

Last Saturday, the Maine Republican Party declared Mitt Romney the winner of the Maine caucuses. The non-binding caucuses were a low turnout affair, but Romney's victory over Ron Paul - who he beat by less than 200 votes - was a chance for Romney to reclaim some momentum in the wake of Rick Santorum's three-state sweep four days earlier.

Now, however, it looks like Romney could ultimately be stripped of that victory. If that happens, it will be the second time this cycle Romney has been stripped of a caucus victory. The first came in Iowa, where Santorum was declared the winner following a (flawed) recount.

The Maine GOP allowed communities to schedule their caucuses between Feb. 4 and Feb. 11 if they wanted them to be counted in the final tally. Some areas elected to schedule their caucuses outside that window, and the Maine GOP said those caucuses would not count. Fair enough. But according to the Bangor Daily News, some caucuses that took place within the designated window were also not counted.

In addition, one important caucus - in Washington County - was rescheduled from last Saturday, when it would have been within the window, to this Saturday due to the threat of bad weather. Paul's campaign questioned the decision to move the caucus, suggesting political interference; in a statement stating the weather report did not predict a serious storm, it said "the votes of Washington County would have been enough to put us over the top. This is an outrage."

Paul actually didn't do well in Washington County in the 2008 cycle, but his campaign saw it as a stronghold this time around. And Paul supporters have been pushing backers of the Texas lawmaker to show up in droves this Saturday for the rescheduled caucuses. In light of the low-turnout nature of the caucuses - Romney's vote total was just 2,190 - a big turnout there could swing the race, if the caucus ends up being counted.

Politico obtained an email from the Maine GOP suggesting officials are now engaged in a recount. It remains unclear if the party plans to officially change the vote totals, or if it will decide to count the rescheduled Washington Country caucus.

The Maine caucuses are non-binding, so it doesn't technically matter who won - delegates to the national convention will actually be decided at Maine's state convention in early May. But headlines stating that he actually didn't win the Maine caucuses could hamper Romney, particularly if they come at the wrong time. The Maine GOP is currently schedule to meet on March 10 - the Saturday after Super Tuesday - when it plans to revisit the caucus results.