Republicans will caucus in three area towns today, the earliest GOP caucuses in the state.

However, the results of their caucus — who they prefer for the Republican presidential nominee — will not be released until Saturday, Feb. 11, in Portland, when a “presidental preference poll announcement” is set as part of the 2012 Republican campaign kickoff.

“Each town will turn the results to the state Republican Party office,” said Ray St. Onge, chairman of the Waldo County Republicans.

In Waldo County, Unity Republicans will gather at 1 p.m. at the Unity Union Church, and Palermo Republicans will gather at 2 p.m., at the home of town Republican chairman Cheryl Parkman.

In Somerset County, Fairfield Republicans will gather at the Fairfield Community Center, 61 Water St.

Anyone registered as a Republican in those towns is eligible to participate in the caucuses and a registrar or deputy from the towns is scheduled to be available to register individuals. While the party is urging towns to hold caucuses before the Feb. 11 kickoff event, towns have until March 20 to caucus. All Democratic Party caucuses will be held Sunday, February 26.

St. Onge said he plans to travel to both caucuses in his county.

“We’re going to be having more or less a straw poll for presidential preference and electing delegates to the state convention,” he said. Historically in Waldo County, he said, the practice has been “if you want to go, basically you can go.” However, things might be different with the presidential election looming.

Last year Jackson, St. Onge’s town, sent fewer delegates than it was allowed to the convention.

“We may fill our quota this year,” he said.

In Palermo, Parkman said she expected 10 people. “It doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s a lot for a small town,” Parkman said. “Our caucus is open to all registered Republicans in Palermo and unenrolled voters who wish to enroll as Republicans.”

She said she had been contacted by the Ron Paul campaign. “They wanted to send someone out to speak at the caucus,” she said.

Parkman said that in 2008, Palermo gave contender Mitt Romney more votes than the other candidates.

This year, the four hopefuls include Romney, Paul, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

The town sent six delegates to the state convention in 2008, and this year is eligible to send nine.

A listing of all GOP county caucuses and those municipalities holding individual caucuses is available at

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]


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