Romney ahead as Maine caucus returns counted

Mitt Romney held the lead in presidential preference voting by Maine Republicans as returns were counted Saturday from the party's caucuses, which Republican officials said were heavily attended across the state. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, had 53 percent of the vote with 12 percent of the towns holding caucuses reporting. Libertarian-leaning Texas Rep. Ron Paul trailed with 21 percent, Arizona Sen. John McCain had 18 percent, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and undecided votes each had about 2 percent. The nonbinding votes, the first step toward electing 18 Maine delegates to the Republican National Convention, were taking place in public schools, fire stations and town halls across the state. Among Republicans, McCain, the veteran senator and former Vietnam prisoner-of-war, has emerged as the clear front-runner heading into Tuesday's virtual national primary with voting in 21 Republican contests.