The Christian Science Monitor reporting on the Ron Paul campaign's caucuses-over-primaries strategy, which has him campaiging in Maine while most campaign eyes are on Florida:
Why Maine? It's no secret that Paul is giving Florida a pass, because ad time there is expensive and the state's electorate skews older, which is not Paul's best demographic. The Texas libertarian is focusing on caucus states such as Maine and Nevada, where his fervent supporters can more easily out-organize the competition.
But here's something that has been little noticed in the press: Maine's caucuses actually begin this weekend. So Paul may be pulling something of an end run about his rivals.
Yes, we know, if you look at the Maine Republican Party's website, it lists Feb. 11 as the date officials will announce the results of a caucus presidential straw poll.
But if you scroll through the details, you'll see that the party has established a window of Feb. 4-11 for Maine Republicans to caucus and vote for a presidential nominee and delegates to the state convention. And if you really squint and look at the fine print, you'll note that the party faithful in some towns have ignored this guidance, and are meeting either before or after the February window.
Lincoln, Lowell, Burlington, Chester, Enfield, Winn, and Howland are holding their joint caucus on Saturday, for example. Millinocket's is on Sunday (it's at the Snowmobile Club). Castine's is not until March 3.
We're not the only commentator to have noticed this. Josh Putnam, a political scientist at Davidson College who specializes in the election process, discussed this development on his Frontloading HQ blog on Wednesday.
Maine's situation "is unique, but it isn't unprecedented," wrote Mr. Putnam. Caucus states sometimes spread out their process down at the precinct or county level.
"Now, which candidate will make a last minute trip up to Penobscot County before Saturday?" Putnam asked, rhetorically.
We can answer that, can't we? It's Paul.
Of course, the stakes are higher in Florida, a winner-take-all primary with a prize of 50 delegates, than Maine, where caucusgoers will select 24 delegates statewide and vote in a nonbinding presidential straw poll.
Reminder about the results when they are announced in Maine: it's not about that nonbinding straw poll, it's about whose supporters end up delegates.
In other Paul world news:
*The security footage of Rand Paul's brouhaha with the TSA released.
*My 23-year plan pays off: the newspaper where I was opinions page editor in 1989, the Independent Florida Alligator, endorses Ron Paul.
*You can still pre-order my forthcoming book Ron Paul's Revolution.