By Wendy Osher
A total of 337 Maui voters backed former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in the very first Hawaii Republican Party presidential caucus last night, according to preliminary results.
That translates to about 31% of the vote in Maui County, according to the GOP Hawaii, which referenced data posted by C-SPAN and the Associated Press.
Here on Maui, the preliminary vote breakdown included 337 votes for Romney, 328 for Paul, 262 for Santorum, and 172 for Gingrich, according to Cindy Sue Clark, Maui County Republican Party Chairwoman.
Clark, who assisted with counts at the Lahaina voting location, said the crowds were larger than what was anticipated. “I ended up handing out forms and pens to the people in line, serving them cookies and drinks to keep them there through the wait,” she said.
“We did lose a few who couldn’t stay and a few were turned away subsequent to the time of doors closing,” noted Clark.
The preliminary count reportedly placed Romney in the lead for the state as well with a total of 4,250 votes, 45%; followed by Rick Santorum – 2,369, 25%; Ron Paul – 1,712, 18%; and Newt Gingrich – 1,034, 11%.
The official results have yet to be finalized and will be released at a later date.
Romney released a statement at the conclusion of caucuses held in Hawaii and American Samoa saying:
“I am delighted to have won the Hawaii and American Samoa caucuses. From one end of America to the other, the voters have spoken. And what they have said is that they want to send a conservative businessman to the White House. With these two contests, I have gained at least 18 additional delegates on my quest for the Republican Party presidential nomination.”
“The delegate results make Hawaii significantly important in the national discussion this news cycle,” said Clark.
“Although Romney did not win in the 2 states that got the most attention the last few days but he is going to win the most number of delegates awarded today as a result of Hawaii and American Samoa’s caucuses,” she said.
According to preliminary results, former House Speaker Gingrich placed last in both the county and state totals, despite hosting several speaking engagements on the Valley Isle in August 2011.
The preliminary results indicate that there were nearly 1,100 Republican Party voters who participated in Maui County last night.
“The first impressive number was the total turnout of 10,239,” said Clark. “Many including myself expected this number to be significantly lower and I have never been happier to be wrong. This is a clear sign of a motivated party base that will be critical to the party’s grassroots efforts in 2012,” she said.
***Supporting information courtesy Hawaii GOP, C-SPAN/AP results.