Maine lawmaker endorsements ahead of GOP presidential caucuses

A group of 11 Maine House members has endorsed Ron Paul ahead of the state’s Republican presidential caucuses, which will be held across Maine this weekend.

Reps. Larry Dunphy of Embden, Jeff Gifford of Lincoln, Ryan Harmon of Palermo, Lance Harvell of Farmington, Dave Johnson of Eddington, Michael McClellan of Raymond, Beth O’Connor of Berwick, Heather Sirocki of Scarborough, Paul Waterhouse of Bridgton and Michael Willette of Presque Isle.

Rep. Aaron Libby of Waterboro was on the Fox News program Freedom Watch recently to talk about the endorsements he helped secure. Libby was the first to make an official endorsement last weekend when Paul, a longtime Congressman from Texas, campaigned in Maine.

Paul also met with Maine Gov. Paul LePage while in the Pine Tree State, but LePage has not endorsed Paul or any other Republican candidate.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the GOP nomination, has racked up plenty of endorsements in Maine, including from Senate President Kevin Raye of Perry, Senate Majority Leader Jonathan Courtney of Springvale, Sens. Richard Rosen of Bucksport, Lois Snowe-Mello of Poland and Ron Collins of Wells, and Reps. Richard Cebra of Naples, Ken Fredette of Newport, Stacey Fitts of Pittsfield, Dean Cray of Palmyra, Les Fossel of Alma, Bruce Bickford of Auburn and Peter Johnson of Greenville.

Many of those same lawmakers endorsed Romney in 2008.

In 2008, Romney took 51 percent of a straw poll vote during the Maine caucuses. John McCain, the nominee, took 21 percent. Paul came in third with 18 percent.

The other two Republican candidates, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have not announced any endorsements in Maine, although that doesn’t mean they don’t have support from lawmakers here.

There hasn’t been much polling of the Maine GOP caucus. Public Policy Polling has conducted a tracking poll in Maine since last September. The most recent poll, however, was Oct. 31, when many other candidates were still in the face. Those results showed Romney with a 24-18 edge over Gingrich, with Paul polling at 5 percent and Santorum at 2 percent.