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The Brief: Feb. 13, 2012

Ron Paul, on the hunt for a victory, fell short in Maine over the weekend. But he hasn't conceded the state just yet.

Ron Paul at a Charleston, S.C. airport rally the day before the state's Republican primary on Jan. 20, 2012.

The Big Conversation:

Ron Paul, on the hunt for a victory, fell short in Maine over the weekend. But he hasn't conceded the state just yet.

On Saturday, Mitt Romney, looking for a comeback after losing three states last week to Rick Santorum, was declared the winner of the state's weeklong caucuses. Romney won 39 percent of the vote, with Paul a close second at 36 percent — 194 votes behind Romney.

But Paul's campaign says it could still end up winning the state if it it can score enough votes in Washington County, which was forced to postpone its caucus until next Saturday due to inclement weather.

The New York Times' FiveThirtyEight reports that while only 118 votes were cast in Washington County in the 2008 Republican caucus, the county contains almost 7,000 registered Republicans, and that its demographics — largely rural and poor — also tend to favor Paul over Romney.

Paul also claims an organizational advantage — even Team Romney, which last week began tamping down expectations in the state, had acknowledged Paul's ground game was the strongest in the state. Then again, even with an organizational advantage, Paul still couldn't prevail over Romney.

The real key to victory for the Paul campaign may lie in the state's convoluted delegate selection process, which involves regional and state conventions and favors candidates whose supporters stayed after the straw poll vote to cast ballots in the state delegate race.

"The revolution is just beginning," Paul told a crowd of supporters in the state on Saturday. “We lost by almost 200 votes … it’s almost like we could call it a tie."

Culled:

  • Federal judges in San Antonio on Friday told redistricting lawyers to redouble their efforts to reach a quick settlement on temporary political maps for the state's 2012 congressional and legislative elections. The court will hold hearings on the matter Tuesday, but according to the Austin American-Statesman, chances of a compromise appear remote.
  • USA Today reports that a new nonpartisan Super PAC called the Campaign for Primary Accountability — financed in part by Houston construction company CEO Leo Linbeck III — has begun targeting congressional incumbents across the U.S., including Eddie Bernice Johnson and Silvestre Reyes, both Texas Democrats. Linbeck, who attracted attention last week for taking aim at liberal stalwart Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, said the group hopes to influence primaries in congressional districts that are safely Republican or Democratic.
  • Use our news applications to search Ron Paul's federal campaign donors and expenditures in 2011 and see who has financially supported his presidential bid and where he has spent his money.

"I think I could beat him, too. I think I have appealed to some of those Democrats that he doesn't have."Ron Paul, in an appearance on CBS's Face the Nation, on whether Mitt Romney could beat Barack Obama

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