MITT ROMNEY has gotten his presidential campaign back on track after scoring a narrow victory in the Republican presidential caucuses in Maine.
Romney – whose campaign had lost some momentum after rival Rick Santorum beat him in three primaries on Tuesday – took 39 per cent of the vote, defeating the charge of Texan congressman Ron Paul who took 36 per cent.
Though Romney will consider his margin of victory, in real terms, as worryingly thin – as the New York Times says that only just over 5,500 votes were cast in the statewide polls, equating to only two per cent of the state’s registered Republican voters.
On that basis, Romney’s margin of victory over Paul – who, despite his strong base of nationwide support, has yet to win a primary outright – was only around 200 votes.
“The voters of Maine have sent a clear message that it is past time to send an outsider to the White House,” Romney said afterwards.
The Wall Street Journal says he described himself as “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.”
Though the outcome of the caucuses does not have a material impact on who gets the nomination – Maine carries only 21 delegates, and the caucuses are not binding on them anyway – the win does restore some momentum to what had previously been Romney’s procession.
His defeats to Santorum earlier in the week – when Santorum himself had found it difficult to overcome the might of Romney and former House speaker Newt Gingrich – had taken the wind out of his campaign, even though Romney had taken a big win in Nevada just days earlier.
As the campaign enters a three-week lull – with no more primaries until February 28 – Romney has secured the support of 95 delegates, Gingrich 37, Santorum 34, and Paul 29.
Candidates need to secure the support of 1,144 delegates to secure the Republican nomination – meaning victory is still some way away for each candidate.