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Romney wins Maine GOP caucuses, CNN projects

  • Story Highlights
  • Romney has 52 percent of the vote; Sen. John McCain has 21 percent
  • Caucuses began on Friday and ran through the weekend
  • 18 delegates to the national convention are at stake
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(CNN) -- Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will win the weekend's Republican caucuses in Maine, CNN projects.

With 68 percent of towns reporting results, Romney had 52 percent of the vote. His nearest rival, Arizona Sen. John McCain, had 21 percent.

Caucusing began Friday in Maine, with 18 delegates to the Republican National Convention at stake. Based on the reported results, CNN projects Romney will win all 18 of those delegates.

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was running third with nearly 19 percent. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was in fourth place, with just under 6 percent; and former Tennessee Sen.

Fred Thompson, who dropped out of the race last month, had 4 percent.

Romney already has claimed victory even though the caucuses continued into Sunday afternoon.

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He told CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" on Sunday that conservative Republicans were rallying to his banner to block McCain, whose stances on tax cuts, immigration and campaign finance reform have incurred the wrath of much of the party's activist base.

"Conservative voices, both from radio and from publications, are saying, 'You know what, we've got to get behind Mitt Romney. We really can't afford John McCain as the nominee of our party,' " Romney said. "And that kind of groundswell is what led me to win in Maine yesterday." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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