Romney Spokesman Says Ron Paul is a 'Serious Competitor'

Mitt Romney's campaign says all the remaining candidates are competitors, even Ron Paul

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Mitt Romney's camp isn't sweating yet, even after a trifecta of losses Tuesday to Rick Santorum, who has now beat him in four state competitions.

"We understand that our competitors will win some and we'll win some. This is a long campaign and this will be a long nominating process," Williams says.

When it comes to the nomination competition, the Romney campaign is not counting anyone out of the race for the 1,1400 delegates needed to win the GOP nomination — especially Ron Paul.

"Ron Paul is a serious candidate. In Maine, he is a serious competitor, He has already been awarded delegates. He'll have the potential to be competitive in many of the states," Williams says.

Results in the non-binding Maine caucus will be released Saturday, but strategists expect it to be a tight race between Romney and Paul.

Paul's the only candidate left in the race not to win a state's caucus or primary, but he beat Romney in Minnesota.

Romney's campaign has spent this primary season more focused on contrasts between Romney's record and President Obama's then it has on stark differences between his fellow GOP competitors, but after losing South Carolina to Newt Gingrich, Romney's camp been especially critical of the former speaker of the House.

"Speaker Gingrich in particular has tried to frame this as a two-person race. His next shot at winning anything will be Arizona. He has finished well behind in recent caucuses and (Tuesday) night was a very difficult night for him," Williams says. [See photos of the 2012 GOP candidates.]

Moving forward, Romney's campaign says they are optimistic about their organization and ability to mobilize support in upcoming states like Arizona and Romney's home state of Michigan, but they aren't depending on wins in every competition to secure the nomination.

"We hope to be competitive in every contest. Even if we don't come in first," Williams says. "We are hoping to win delegates. We view this campaign as a fight for more than 1,100 delegates."

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