Maine GOP adds missing caucus votes, but won’t release updated vote count

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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The Maine Republican Party has added additional votes accidentally omitted from Saturday’s caucus results, state party chairman Charlie Webster told The Daily Caller Wednesday. But those votes won’t be publicly released.

“We don’t want any more drama,” Webster told TheDC. “I’ve already got death threats and 1,800 emails.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was declared the victor in Maine over the weekend, claiming a slim 194-vote lead over Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

Paul supporters, however, expressed dismay over errors in tabulating vote counts in various localities, including several towns in Waldo County. That county’s Republican committee passed a motion of censure against Webster on Tuesday.

In addition to the missing votes, a caucus scheduled for Washington County on Saturday was postponed due to a forecast of snow. The Paul campaign insisted that it would have won the state had the vote not been pushed back, and the county’s GOP chair is advocating that its results be included in the ultimate tally.

The Paul campaign is expected to make a serious push for turnout in Washington County’s rescheduled caucus this Saturday.

“If Romney lost by 20 votes, would we be having this big discussion?” Webster mused.

According to Webster, he has been an honest broker, but he will not release the updated vote count ahead a March 10 meeting of the 83-or-so-member state party committee because “people are going to sense a conspiracy and this is going to keep going.”

Webster’s brusque treatment of criticism has rubbed many Paul supporters the wrong way. After announcing the results on Saturday, he proclaimed that Washington County’s votes would not count, infuriating Paul supporters.

But the clerical error in tabulating initial results has been perhaps the most serious charge against his leadership.

“What I tell people is that I’m not going to fire my staff because they make clerical errors,” he said. “My poor staffer is in tears, because people are harassing her.” (RELATED: Maine GOP to consider counting late caucus votes)

Webster maintains that Paul should call it quits in Maine, saying that achieving a 200-vote margin of victory in Washington County — where only 113 voters cast ballots in the 2008 GOP race — “isn’t humanly possible.”

Asked if anyone has access to the updated results, which he said show Romney with a greater lead after vote adjustments, Webster said absolutely not.

“No one has access,” he said. “There will be no access. We will give it to the committee on March 10. We are not going to release them. People can whine and complain and plead, but I’m not going to make them public.”

Webster said that all he wants is for the “press feeding frenzy” to end. “I’m not going to restart the fire” by releasing the updated results, he said.

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