The Maine Republican Party announced Monday that the discovery of a “tabulation error” prompted party officials to replace one delegate to the Republican National Convention with another.

But the swap appears unlikely to change the mix of Maine delegates supporting Ted Cruz and Donald Trump that emerged from last weekend’s intense state Republican convention.

Party officials said it appeared that Rep. Ellie Espling, R-New Gloucester, should have won a delegate seat representing Maine’s 1st District. But because of apparent human error, Espling’s total votes were not tabulated after Saturday’s elections.

As a result, Joshua Dunlap of Scarborough was incorrectly announced as one of the three representatives from the district. Republican officials said Monday evening that Dunlap and party representatives flagged the issue “almost simultaneously” and, as a result, Espling was given Dunlap’s seat. Espling is the assistant minority leader in the Maine House and was also elected as one of two state representatives to the Republican National Committee over the weekend.

“To flag this error, even knowing it would affect his place as a National Delegate, sets the gold-standard for how all Republicans should conduct themselves,” Maine Republican Party Chairman Rick Bennett said in a statement. “Mr. Dunlap took clear, aggressive steps to make sure the right thing was done, even as we were working to review all the results and notify him.”

Both Dunlap and Espling were on the slate of delegates supported by the Cruz campaign, so it does not appear that the error affects the mix of delegates headed to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July.

The results of Maine’s Republican caucuses, held in March, dictate that 12 of Maine’s 23 delegates will vote for Cruz on the first nomination ballot in Cleveland, while nine delegates will go to Trump and two to Ohio Gov. John Kasich. But Maine’s delegates are no longer “bound” in subsequent voting if Trump is unable to win the nomination on the first ballot.

That prospect led to an intense mini-campaign during the Republican State Convention in Bangor last weekend to elect delegate “slates” favorable to either Trump or Cruz in the event of a contested national convention.

In the end, the better-organized Cruz campaign virtually swept the delegate-selection process at the convention by filling 19 of the 23 seats with delegates supportive of Cruz. Gov. Paul LePage and Alex Willette, one of Maine’s representatives to the Republican National Committee, are the only two delegates who have pledged to support Trump.

Bennett and outgoing Republican National Committee representative Ashley Ryan have yet to endorse a candidate.

Kevin Miller can be contacted at 791-6312 or at:

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