Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Maine GOP Begins Caucusing Saturday

In the midst of some research on the filing deadlines -- grand manifesto on filing to come later -- FHQ happened upon the state party site devoted to the Maine Republican caucuses (information on locations, dates, times, etc.). What I found was fairly interesting and obviously isn't being talked about probably outside of the Pine Tree state. As it turns out, Maine Republicans in a few towns will caucus this Saturday (January 28). The original plan I spoke with the Maine Republican Party about back in September revolved around the idea of holding caucuses within a window from February 4 and February 11 with a big reveal on that final date. That is still mostly true as most of the caucus venues will hold party meetings within that window. However, there are a few caucuses that branch out quite far from those two bookend dates. The collective caucus Lincoln, Lowell, Burlington, Chester, Enfield, Winn and Howland will take place the Saturday and the precinct caucus process will not officially wind down until the caucuses in Castine take place on March 3.

Now, this is not all that unusual. Well, it is unique, but it isn't unprecedented. Caucus states will often not have a uniform date for caucuses at the precinct or county level. That said, that phenomenon is typically limited to caucus states of the in-party (in the White House); especially in those cycles where there is no competition for the in-party nomination. Those state parties have little incentive to force precinct caucuses onto one date or a small window of time because the results are not all that consequential outside of choosing delegates. The news is not needed, in other words, to update a ongoing delegate count.

But the Maine Republican Party will begin caucusing this weekend and not be able to report final official results until the weekend immediately prior to Super Tuesday (March 6). That is not to suggest that results won't trickle out over the course of that month long period, but they will not be complete results until March.

[The three "overflow" caucuses will not take part in the official straw poll. Those results will still be released on February 11.]

Now, which candidate will make a last minute trip up to Penobscot County before Saturday?

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Anonymous said...

All of the presidential straw poll results will be posted February 11.
All of the national convention delegates will be elected at the state convention in June.

Pinyan said...

Indeed, Maine is like Iowa, Colorado and Minnesota a dog-and-pony-show, where the results of the straw poll do not have any direct connection to the number of delegates awarded to candidates.