Wicked weather and Super Bowl parties aside, Republicans in Maine began the first of three days of caucusing, tonight.
Party officials bumped up their caucus this year in efforts to give their state more clout in the presidential nominating process. The GOP caucus begins tonight and ends Sunday, Feb. 3.
But GOP party-goers may have more competition than they bargained for when they decided to move up their caucus date.
Sandwiched between Florida's primary Jan. 29, and the over-arching Super-Duper Tuesday, Feb. 5, GOP candidates have all but overlooked the state.
Except for long-shot presidential candidate Ron Paul, who visited the state earlier this week.
That move may give Paul the edge. Professor Amy Fried told Campaigns & Elections that the Texas representative may even have the upper hand.
"Maine likes outsider candidates," she said. "It was Ross Perot's best state in 1992."
The nonbinding GOP caucuses begin the process of electing Maine's 18 delegates, who will then be sent to the party's national convention.
Also, for the first time in the state, 17-year-olds will be allowed to participate in the presidential caucuses, provided they turn 18 before Nov. 4.
State lawmakers passed the law to encourage young voters to become more involved in the election.
Sources: Campaigns & Elections, Morning Sentinel, The Associated Press