CP Politics

Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

Romney Wins Maine Caucus, CPAC Poll; Santorum Still a Threat

  • (Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
    Republican U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney (R-MA) speaks at the American Conservative Union's annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, February 10, 2012.
February 12, 2012|1:06 pm

Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney was declared Saturday the winner of the Maine caucuses as well as an annual straw poll. However, these wins have no bearing on the threat he continues to face from his main contender, Rick Santorum.

Romney won 39 percent of the vote in Maine, compared with 36 percent by Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Santorum, who lacks money but not the charisma required to win support of Republican voters, got only 18 percent. But that's because Romney and Paul were the only two candidates who campaigned actively in Maine.

Romney also won the annual straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday with 38 percent of the vote. Santorum stood at 31 percent and Newt Gingrich at 15 percent. Paul, who says he will not quit the race, got 12 percent of the vote. However, Romney's victory can be attributed to the former Massachusetts governor's strength in terms of funding and organization.

Romney sought to overplay his non-binding Maine victory. "I am the only candidate in the race who has never served a day in our broken federal government," he said in a statement after the results were announced. "The voters of Maine have sent a clear message that it is past time to send an outsider to the White House, a conservative with a lifetime of experience in the private sector, who can uproot Washington's culture of taxing and spending and borrowing and endless bureaucracy."

His two wins Saturday boosted Romney's morale, given that he lost Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri to Santorum last week, which had put question marks over his front-runner status. But where Romney stands in relation to Santorum – after the latter's recent wins and surge in polls – will come to fore only in the upcoming primaries in Michigan and Arizona this month.

As the GOP race progress, the field can be expected to get narrower, forcing the voters to make their choice of nomination more targeted. Until Santorum's three wins, voters had apparently struggled to decide who could have been an alternative to Romney. Particularly if and when Paul and Gingrich decide to drop out of the race, the competition from Santorum will get a lot fiercer than it is today.

Santorum's conservative credentials appear to be stronger than that of Romney, who has had several gaffes and been criticized for his flip-flops over some key issues. Although Romney managed to win the CPAC poll, he appeared to be in a defensive mode in his address. "I was a severely conservative Republican governor," he told the crowd in Washington, D.C. Friday. Almost all political commentaries declared Santorum as the winner as far as the substance of candidates' talks and activists' response were concerned. "We're not going to win with money," Santorum said. "We're going to win with contracts, we're going to win with ideas, we're going to win by making Barack Obama and his failed policies the issue in this race."

Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/romney-wins-maine-caucus-cpac-poll-santorum-still-a-threat-69279/