Winning the CPAC straw poll helped give Mitt Romney some positive publicity after what had been a bad week, and winning Maine despite expectations that it would go to Ron Paul (more on him later) has helped get Romney’s campaign back on the winning track. It would have been nicer for Romney if Maine held its caucus during the week, so that he would get more publicity from the win, but he still has to welcome this development.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether from here on out, the Republican primary and caucus electorate will help Romney finally and decisively put away his rivals. He needs a string of wins to look strong again. There appears to remain a measurable degree of doubt in the Republican party regarding whether Romney would be a good standard bearer for the GOP; the more that doubt is allowed to fester, the tougher it will be for Romney to come out of the GOP nominating contest looking like he is ready to beat President Obama. My guess is that there will be more flirtations with Romney’s rivals before the Republican electorate finally settles on Romney as the nominee. For Romney’s sake, he had better prove me wrong, and quickly.
But none of this detracts from the fact that Romney had a good Saturday, and that his candidacy is in a relatively happy place again. Oh, and as for Ron Paul, he still hasn’t won a primary or caucus, and the fact that he was considered a favorite for Maine has to make his loss there especially stinging. As Paul himself stated in the story I linked to, “[t]he No. 1 place where we’re going to be keying in on, working on is Maine.” Fat lot of good all of that work did him. I guess it comes as little surprise that the Paulites are claiming that a conspiracy robbed them of a win in Maine, or that Romney forces have nefariously plotted to cancel caucuses in Washington state (as indicated by the story I linked to, the caucus was actually canceled due to bad weather); desperate times for a floundering campaign whose candidate is reprehensible clearly call for desperate excuses.