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mitt romney at 2012 cpac Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington on February 10. (Photo: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Election 2012: Romney Wins Over Conservatives

Republican frontrunner claims victory at CPAC, Maine caucus

By Andrew Liang | February 14 , 2012

After being stunned by Rick Santorum in three votes last week, Mitt Romney regained his edge this weekend.

On Saturday, Romney pulled off a tight victory in the Maine caucuses, taking 39 percent of the total vote. Ron Paul trailed as the close second with 36 percent of the vote. The other two major candidates — Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich — didn't participate in the caucuses.

Like the Missouri primary, the Maine caucus was non-binding.

This is the closest that the Texas Congressman has come to winning, and he stands as the only one out of the four candidates to not have won a single state primary or caucus. But Paul remained hopeful when addressing his supporters.

“Just remember, the revolution is only the beginning,” Paul said. “The momentum is going to continue, we’re not going away. We have the message that America needs at this particular time.”

Romney’s campaign released a statement after the caucuses. In it, he expressed gratitude for his supporters and their votes. He also reinforced and restated the platform that he had been running on.

“We stand for conservative principles, liberty, and prosperity,” the statement read. “All of these are under threat. I’m in this race because I believe that America can be turned around.”

The win for Romney came after an exciting week in which Santorum won primary contests in Colorado, Missouri, and Minnesota. Santorum seemed to have all the momentum heading into the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meetings on Friday.

But when a straw poll was conducted of the 3,408 conservative political activists attending CPAC, Romney bested Santorum. Romney won 38 percent of the vote, followed closely by Santorum with 31 percent. Newt Gingrich was third with 15 percent, and Ron Paul finished last with 12 percent. Congressman Paul had won previous CPAC straw polls in 2010 and 2011.

The survey doesn’t count towards anything in the race for the nomination. But the Romney campaign got a boost from the results.

The next stop for the candidates is Michigan and Arizona, two states that will hold primaries on February 28.


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