Momentum Back on Mitt Romney's Side with Maine Victory

Modest victories in Maine and at CPAC help Romney stop week-long stumble.

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Mitt Romney scored a couple of modest victories over the weekend, not enough to restore his position as the clear front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, but sufficient enough to show that he can make a comeback.

Romney won the Maine caucuses with 39 percent of the vote to Texas Rep. Ron Paul's 36 percent. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum finished third with 18 percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was fourth with 6 percent.

Claiming victory, Romney said it's long past time to send a Washington outsider, such as himself, to the White House as a way to end the culture of overspending and government intrusion into individual and state prerogatives.

[See pictures of the 2012 GOP candidates.]

Within hours, Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and a longtime venture capitalist, also won a straw poll of attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, with 38 percent to Santorum's 31 percent, Gingrich's 15 and Paul's 12. The CPAC group consisted of influential conservative activists. It was a popularity contest with no delegates at stake.

The next contests for the Republican presidential nomination are scheduled in Arizona and Michigan, which hold primaries on Feb. 28.

Romney had been reeling from three losses to Santorum in the contests in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri last week. But Romney's supporters say his wins in Maine and at CPAC over the weekend put him back on the road to the nomination, and he will intensify his efforts, especially through the extensive use of paid TV ads in the next round of primaries.

  • Ron Paul Disappointed in Maine Caucuses Results.
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  • See pictures of Mitt Romney.