Ron Paul makes push for Maine

From the Associated Press

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, said Thursday.

Maine's GOP polling Friday, today 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 the 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 has been going, and independents who have left the party, Lindell said.

Maine Republicans are holding the only presidential preference event this weekend. Maine Democrats will gather the following weekend.

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.

As for Paul's prospects, he can take heart that Mainers tend to march to their own drummer.

"I wouldn't be completely stunned if Ron Paul won the caucuses" in Maine, said Mark Brewer, who teaches political science at the University of Maine.

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