U.S. Republican Party front-runner Mitt Romney on Sunday was savouring his narrow victory Saturday in the Maine caucuses — and charting a course for the coming weeks and months in his quest to eventually secure his party's presidential nomination.
The former Massacusetts governor ended up with a three-percentage-point win in Maine over Texas congressman Ron Paul.
Despite his showing in the northeastern state, Paul so far is not seen as a serious challenger to Romney unlike the other two remaining candidates in the race — Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Rick Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator.
Romney overcame Paul in Maine by 39 per cent to 36 per cent. Santorum and Gingrich, who didn't actively campaign in the state, won 18 per cent and six per cent, respectively.
Romney leads with most delegates
Right now, Romney leads the overall race for delegates, with 123. Santorum has 72, Gingrich has 32 and Paul has 19. It takes 1,144 delegates to win the Republican nomination.
Romney's relative success in Maine — combined with his victory in the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference in Washington hours earlier — may help further expand his financial advantage, despite lingering skepticism among some conservatives.
Romney now begins to regroup from the battering he took from Santorum last Tuesday in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.
There won't be another nominating contest until Arizona and Michigan hold primaries on Feb. 28. The next Republican debate is 10 days away.