For Immediate Release
Date: January 31, 2008
Contact: Mark J. Ellis
Phone: (207) 622-6247
Augusta, Maine - The Maine Republican Party announced today that the number of towns caucusing across the state has increased by 47% over the election cycle of 2006. With 413 towns scheduling caucuses in all 16 counties, 80% of Maine's municipalities will participate in the 2008 biennial caucus season. In 2006, just 281 towns held Republican caucuses resulting in a statewide participation rate of 54%.
"The number of caucuses is an indication of how engaged GOP activists are in the political process in their communities," said Maine Republican Party Chairman Mark Ellis.
"When we looked at the numbers behind the election results of 2006, the caucus participation data revealed that nearly 1 in 4 Maine Republicans reside in towns that did not have Republican organizations which are established by local caucuses. My number one job has been to leverage the interest in the presidential race to grow, organize, and strengthen the Maine Republican Party," said Ellis.
"In December of 2006, the Maine Republican leadership team set out to push caucus participation to 80% with our '80 in 08' initiative. I am pleased that we have attained our goal because it means that the foundation of the party -- the Republican town committees -- is strong and active. I am looking forward accomplishing all the goals we have set that will result in victory for Republicans up and down the ticket on Election Day 2008," said Ellis.
Under state law, political parties are required to hold caucuses during election years in at least one municipality in each county to maintain major party status. At the biennial caucuses, Republican committees at the town level are established, county committee members are nominated, and delegates and alternates are elected to the Republican state convention in May.
The 2008 caucuses, which are to be held on February 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, will also feature a nonbinding presidential preference survey which is the 8th presidential contest in the nation and the last one before Super Tuesday on February 5th.
"Our '80 in 08' strategy was to drive up caucus participation by setting early caucus dates that would give Maine Republicans more candidates to choose from. Caucusing before Super Tuesday along with the unsettled nature of this race has put Maine into play and driven up interest considerably," said Ellis.
"While the focus has been on the presidential race, this is really all about building a strong organization that will help elect Republicans to local office. I continue to believe that electing Republican majorities in Maine will have a lasting, positive impact on the lives of Mainers," concluded Ellis.
For more information about the caucus and the caucus schedule can be
found on the Maine GOP's website: http://www.mainegop.com.