* Ron Paul's Denver Stop Friday
* WV GOP Convention Tuesday
* Is Ron Paul the Anti-McCain?
* Super Tuesday Schedule
Ron Paul Round-up
First, the Maine caucuses:
UPDATE: SATURDAY, February 2, 2008 2:15 pm
Mitt Romney took an early lead in presidential preference voting by Maine Republicans as the first returns were counted Saturday from the party's municipal caucuses, which GOP officials said were heavily attended across the state.
NOTE: If any readers have any information on the Maine caucuses, leave a comment and we'll include it in our next Ron Paul update.
This worked out so well for the Louisiana Caucuses, hopefully, someone who attended the Maine Caucuses will leave a comment on how they saw them where they were.
Earlier from Michelle Malkin, a reader sends in a Maine caucus report:
I just got back from the caucus in my district in Maine. Romney was immensely popular today; of course there were a lot of Ron Paul nuts, and I saw no supporters of McCain.
The Maine Caucuses are now underway with some voting yesterday, the bulk today and a bit of it finishing up tomorrow.
Most of the candidates have been quiet in Maine, with the exception of Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.
Romney's son, Tagg visited Maine as a windup to a quiet campaign in Maine leading to three days of Republican voting.
Ron Paul visited the state Monday, but neither Michael Huckabee nor John McCain has shown up.
Paul is said to have an organization in Maine that could give the Texas congressman his first victory. And Huckabee could benefit from caucus votes by GOP conservatives who are capable of flexing political muscle.
After the voting is completed in Maine, this could prove to be an important contest in the Ron Paul campaign's battle for Republican delegates.
The 72-year-old, 10-term Texas congressman has been largely dissed and dismissed by party politicians and the media in this lengthening primary race. But his loyal followers have been more than generous in recent weeks, donating nearly $20 million in the last three months of 2007 to make him the most successful GOP fundraiser then and the only one to increase his donations every quarter last year.
According to Paul's website, supporters have given another $5+ million since Jan. 1.
On Friday Republicans started three days of caucusing in Maine, a largely rural state where Paul's brand of independence and smaller government might well fit. He's got several hundred volunteers working the caucuses with the same kind of determination and imagination that drove Paul to a distant second-place finish behind Mitt Romney in Nevada's caucuses last month.
Paul is using his funds judiciously, traveling around the country and speaking largely under the major media's radar. He did well in the Louisiana caucuses and even beat out Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson elsewhere, though he finished dead last in the Florida primary.
Paul spoke earlier this week in Washington about the economy and recession.
"The most important thing you can do is nothing," said the one-time Libertarian candidate for president, who recently voted against the $146 billion economic stimulus package.
As anyone with a modicum of modern economics knowledge understands, the market should be allowed to correct itself while a restrained and reduced federal government stops trying to protect millions from the economic consequences of their bad decisions.
This is Ron Paul's position on the economic stimulus package that was little more than a "Bi-partisan Voter Stimulus Package".
Paul was the only Republican candidate to actually visit Maine, which could go over well with locals. The nonbinding caucuses are the first step toward picking 18 Maine delegates who'll travel to the national convention in St. Paul next August.
A win in Maine on a slow news weekend as the only presidential preference voting underway just before Super Tuesday could garner Paul priceless free publicity.
Paul's message of strict constitutionalism has attracted an eclectic crowd of disaffected Democrats and Republicans and libertarians who've formed more than 1,400 meet-up groups across the country. They see their freedoms threatened by such legislation as the Patriot Act and want to bring the troops home from abroad and spend the money on domestic priorities.
Although Paul typically gets the least speaking time during GOP debates, if he isn't barred from participating altogether, he makes the most of his time. He drew numerous positive reviews after the recent Republican debate at the Reagan Library when he said it makes no sense to bomb bridges in other countries only to rebuild them with American taxpayers' money while the bridges at home are falling down.
Ron Paul (and Ronald Reagan before him) does understand one thing that John McCain, liberals and Democrats will never admit: that the government is almost never the solution: it is almost always the problem.
"The Constitution was written for one specific purpose," Paul recently told a Seattle crowd, "and that was to restrain government, not to restrain the people."
Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul has a couple of things going for him at this weekend's Republican caucuses: a band of highly motivated supporters and a natural appeal to Maine's like-minded independents.
His stop in the state earlier this week also made him the only presidential contender from either party to visit before the caucuses.
"I think that (because) he's paid attention to Maine, he'll be rewarded."
--R. Kenneth Lindell, Paul's campaign coordinator in Maine
Maine's GOP polling Friday, Saturday and Sunday may be the Texas congressman's best shot at winning a state, and such a feat would be big coming just days before next week's Super Tuesday presidential preference contests in more than 20 states.
Lindell wouldn't get into specifics about the number of volunteers Paul has in the state, except to say they number in the hundreds — not a small figure considering Maine's relatively small population and meager share of the national delegate pool.
Paul has drawn a mix of young voters who are getting involved in politics for the first time, longtime Republicans with libertarian leanings or who are unhappy with the direction the party's been going and independents who've left the party, Lindell said.
Maine Democrats will gather next weekend to make their choices.
Maine's Process for Awarding Delegates
The nonbinding Republican caucuses are the first step toward electing Maine's 18 delegates to the party's national convention. Three ranking party leaders also go. Maine awards all of its delegates to the caucus winners.
Maine stubbornly refuses to follow the crowd, electorially-speaking.
In 1992, H. Ross Perot delivered a shocker in Maine, beating out Kennebunkport's George H.W. Bush to come in second behind Bill Clinton. And that came after former California Gov. Jerry Brown donned a plaid shirt while campaigning in Maine to beat Clinton in the Democratic caucuses.
Unenrolled or independent voters can play an important role in Maine politics, since they make up the largest bloc of voters. The law allows independents to come in the day of the caucus and register with a party.
"If we have a good showing here in Maine, that could carry forward into Super Tuesday when we could pick up delegates. That would be significant in the case of a brokered convention."
--R. Kenneth Lindell, Paul's campaign coordinator in Maine
Julie O'Brien, executive director of the state Republican Party, said Paul supporters have been resourceful in finding opportunities for support, for example, organizing caucuses in towns where none had been scheduled.
"I have felt strongly for three weeks that he stood a better chance (in Maine) than any other candidate," O'Brien said. But her view has eased slightly now that Arizona Sen. John McCain won in Florida and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is no longer in the running.
The Maine GOP has increased it's efforts to encourage general caucus participation. This could send more supporters for McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to the polls, according to O'Brien.
Mark Brewer, who teaches political sciene at the University of Maine, doesn't see Paul as a favorite but added that the congressman's best chances are in caucus states like Maine. Paul finished second in the Nevada caucuses on Jan. 19.
"I wouldn't be completely stunned if Ron Paul won the caucuses" in Maine, Brewer said.
Meanwhile, yesterday in Denver
Seven Quotes from the Ron Paul Campaign Stop in Denver
Ron Paul's campaign appearance yesterday in Denver was standing room only.
The crowd for Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul was so large it surprised his own organizers. They were forced to hurriedly open partitions to double the size of the ballroom space minutes before Paul's scheduled appearance in the Four Seasons Ballroom. When that wasn't enough hundreds of people stood rimming the hall that sits 1,536.
Many of his supporters boldly predicted he would win more delegates in the state then front runners Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney even though Paul has yet to win a majority in any state primary.
* Colorado Convention Center employee: "That room is packed so tight it's not even funny,"
* Ron Paul (beginning his speech): "I'm just totally dumbfounded. The enthusiasm seems to be growing. Freedom is popular."
* Vince Holcomb, 45, massage therapist from Centennial: "He's real strong in Colorado. Ron Paul is a lot higher in the polls than the mainstream media publicize."
* The crowd in Denver: "Ron Paul Revolution; Taking back our Constitution."
* Ron Paul: "[I'm} so well-received in Colorado because people in the state share [my] love of personal liberties, [my] quest to "return to constitutional principles" and belief that government needs to be dramatically reduced.
* Ron Paul (before his speech): "There's no reason why we can't do quite well right here. I would say we're in pretty good shape."
* Ron Paul (Denver campaign speech): "We don't have to start a brand new revolution. All we have to do is restore the original Constitution."
Paul says he plans to end welfare for illegal aliens and "birthright citizenship." He says he has never voted to increase taxes, is against regulating the Internet and opposes the Iraq war.
Alabama (48) Alaska (29) Arizona (53)
Arkansas (34) California (173) Colorado (46)
Connecticut (30) Delaware (18) Georgia (72)
Illinois (70) Minnesota (41) Missouri (58)
Montana (25) New Jersey (52) New York (101)
North Dakota (26) Oklahoma (42) Tennessee (55)
Utah (36) West Virginia (18 of 30)
Total Delegates: 1027
In WV on Tuesday morning, 18 of the state's delegates will be chosen in Charleston by the WV GOP delegates to the first Republican convention. The rest will be chosen in the WV Republican primary in May.
Mitt Romney is scheduled to speak at the convention. As of now, that is the only confirmed candidate, although that could change, according to Virginia Davis, WV GOP Media Relations.
The convention is the largest gathering of Republicans in the states history.
Over 1400 WV delegates will vote for delegates to represent the GOP at the Republican national convention.
About 60% of the delegates right now are "uncommitted". Among the rest, here are the delegates committed to a particular candidate.
Mitt Romney 184
Mike Huckabee 132
Ron Paul 68
John McCain 12
In addition, delegates pledged to Fred Thompson (104), Rudy Giuliani (41) and Duncan Hunter (4) are now free to vote for the four Republicans still in the race.
Will Ron Paul become the Anti-McCain?
Where McCain wants opened borders, Paul is opposed.
Where McCain was against extending the Bush tax cuts, Paul supported them.
On most issues, the man who now tries to bill him self as a "conservative" and who has bought a large amount of Super Tuesday commercials trying to convince unwary voters that he is a "conservative", is on the opposite side of issues from Ron Paul.
From the National Ledger:
The race may be over. John McCain could be poised to represent the Republican Party in the presidential race this election season as they try to retain the White House and it might be as soon as Super Tuesday if he grabs a big win in a bunch of states. This has conservatives in a tizzy. Perhaps they should have turned to Ron Paul and given him a chance.
Unless Mitt Romney rallies big, conservatives will soon run out of options and will either have to support McCain, despite his obvious shortcomings, or sit this one out. I wonder if any regret not looking at Paul and jumping on his bandwagon. He had the money, he just never had any real media time.
So, with Super Tuesday three days away, the battle for Maine's delegates is underway.
A win or good showing in Maine will generate media attention for a candidate whose campaign's biggest headache still is national name recognition.
It will also generate delegates.
RON PAUL DBKP Library of over 40 Ron Paul stories and videos, covering the presidential campaign of the Texas Congressman.
* Ron Paul Campaigns Gets Ready for Super Tuesday
images: garlingguage; denverpost
* Romney's Son visits Maine as Caucuses Begin
* Ron Paul's Big Chance to Make a Modest Splash
* Romney Ahead in Early Caucus Voting
* Ron Paul's Prospects Look Up in Maine
* Paul Draws Big Crowd in Denver
* The Maine Caucus: A reader reports
* Will Desperate Conservatives Turn to Ron Paul?
* Phone interview, Virginia Davis; WV GOP Media Relations
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