Mitt Romney eked out a narrow win in Maine's Republican caucuses, state party officials announced Saturday, beating Ron Paul by approximately three percent.
The victory, however slim, offers the candidate a boost after three straight losses to Rick Santorum last week. How far it will carry him remains to be seen.
The former Massachusetts governor earned 39 percent of the vote, while Paul took 36 percent, his strongest showing by share of the vote so far in the campaign.
Paul also finished second to Romney in neighboring New Hampshire.
Santorum got 18 percent of the vote in Maine and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has faded since winning South Carolina, had 6 percent.
While the Maine results don’t immediately offer any convention delegates to Romney, they give him renewed momentum - at least according to Romney, who said:
“The voters of Maine sent a clear message that it is past time to send an outsider to the White House, a conservative with a lifetime of experience in the private sector, who can uproot a culture of taxing, spending, borrowing and endless bureaucracy.”
The Maine results are based on votes cast at 84 percent of municipal caucuses that have been conducted to date; the rest will be held by March 20.
The state’s delegates to the Republican convention will be allocated in May. Because the results aren't officially complete, Paul did not concede defeat.
“It’s almost like we could call it a tie,” he told supporters.
Again, Maine's party officials have declared Romney the winner. However, with 16 percent of the caucuses - many in counties where Paul is poised to do well - postponed due to inclement weather, it's still possible for Paul to overtake him.