Ron Paul Had to Speak from a Balcony to Accommodate Crowds in District Romney Hopes to Win - compare to crowd at last minute Rally for Romney in Portland Last night - image National Review
Reuters: The State of Maine, where Mitt Romney won over 50 percent of the vote in 2008, is now seen as a “different state” than it was four years ago – as are the balance of the states with few exceptions where Romney had actual ground games and extensive support of the State GOP. Ron Paul is running so strong in the caucuses, that Romney took a last minute flight from CPAC (Conservative Convention) in Washington DC, in order to try to rally troops in Portland. The Portland Press Herald suggests that the win will go to a 200 vote difference, with Paul taking the expansive and remote 1st district, and Romney possibly pulling out a victory in the more populated 2nd District which includes Portland.
A win by Paul would show that the U.S. House member from Texas can actually come in first in a 2012 GOP contest, something he hasn't done. Paul spent two days in Maine last month, drawing large crowds, and is spending today in the state, visiting caucus sites in Sanford, Lewiston and New Gloucester and holding a party in Portland.
However, the more populated areas of the second district are also the homes to the States universities where Paul has an extensive organization of both students and Libertarian and Tea Party members. It is another case where the ground game is more than likely going to trump the much “ballyhooed” former front-runner, who spent little to no time in Maine compared to Paul. In addition the other candidates, Gingrich and Santorum did not compete in Maine, where Romney is now faced with the same situation as Missouri – going one-on-one with a single candidate – where after his loss in Missouri, one of his aids noted that Romney is “vulnerable” in one on one match-ups. No kidding right on CNN – giving one the impression that Romneys campaign is not in control of its message.
The Bangor Daily News noted that Romney’s quick sprint from CPAC to a Portland Rally was met with both supporters and hecklers, but judging from the Video that is shown on the site, the attendees for Romney were mostly reporters and Romney surrogates and state officials, who are part and parcel of the “establishment” – while elsewhere in Maine Ron Paul has been pulling crowds in the thousands, even in remote areas, with a little help from his fans in Massachusetts.
The fact is that if Romney can’t pull out a win in Maine, and is faced with a strong Santorum in Michigan and possibly Arizona, going into Super Tuesday will be a nightmare. Romneys other home state, Massachusetts has campaigns in place for Santorum and Paul, with Gingrich having run television ads. The anti-Romney sentiment in Massachusetts, with exception of the State Republican and usual party leaders, is palpable. (That's less than 10%) In addition, as of the moment, Virginia is another of those one-on-one primary states, where Romney will be wishing he had begged the State’s AG to allow Gingrich and Santorum to compete with the 10,000 plus signatures they collected. In 2008 Ron Paul clobbered Romney in the state’s Primary – and one can only imagine as the anti-establishment sentiment has grown. In the final analysis as Santorum grows stronger, and should Paul pull a victory out of Maine, Romney will have to reassess his campaign.