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Michigan GOP Gives Romney Delegate Edge Over Santorum Michigan GOP Gives Romney Delegate Edge Over Santorum

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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field

CAMPAIGN 2012

Michigan GOP Gives Romney Delegate Edge Over Santorum

The Michigan Republican Party on Thursday appeared to throw cold water on Rick Santorum's claim that he and Mitt Romney had evenly split delegates in this week's GOP primary, with the party saying that Romney won 16 delegates while Santorum won 14.

Santorum, however, showed no sign of backing down. His campaign alleges that Romney manipulated the process and are drafting a complaint letter to the Republican National Committee. In comments to reporters in Spokane, Wash., on Thursday night, he called Romney's actions "pathetic."

 

“I just think that you really see what the Romney campaign is all about. Anything to win, after the fact, break the rules, rewrite the rules," Santorum said. "That’s not the way Republicans and conservatives do it, but he’s new to the conservative cause, so I’m not surprised he doesn’t know that.”

Romney was given two at-large delegates to the Republican National Convention following a vote on Wednesday night by the state party’s credentials committee. The vote came despite an earlier interpretation of party rules that the two at-large delegates would be awarded on a proportional basis based on the statewide popular vote. Romney won the statewide vote by 41 percent to 38 percent over Santorum.

The rest of the state’s delegates will be split evenly between Romney and Santorum because each won seven congressional districts across the state.

 

The ex-Pennsylvania senator had claimed winning 15 delegates before the state party issued the memo, based on information from the Associated Press.

In a conference call with reporters, Santorum surrogates and supporters said the rules over the awarding of delegates were wrongly changed. They cited a secret meeting by members of the credentialing committee that included several Romney supporters.

"The Romney campaign will do anything and they will say anything to try to get the nomination," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, a Santorum backer.

But Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said their rival's carping was misplaced.

 

"Rick Santorum encouraged Democrats in Michigan to hijack the Republican primary," Saul said, referring to rules enabling Democrats to vote in the contest. "Because his strategy failed and Mitt Romney won, he is now attacking the Republican Party. The Romney campaign respects the process as determined by the Michigan state party, and we are pleased that we have been awarded a majority of the delegates."

Saul also included a statement from former state Republican Party chairman and Republican National Committee member Saul Anuzis explaining that "the two at-large delegates would be taken from the top of the slated delegations as submitted by the candidate who received the most votes statewide."

Anuzis blamed an erroneous memorandum that the delegates would be split but added, "While we all regret the error in the memo, it does not change what was voted on by the committee, which was to award the two at-large delegates to the statewide winner.  It was premature for any candidate to be declaring the delegate count prior to an official announcement by the Michigan Republican Party."

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Party Executive Director Kim Jorns said the allocation of delegates is based on current results and won't be certified until the Republican Party receives an accounting of qualified voters from the Michigan Department of State. Certified results will be provided within 55 days of the Feb. 28 primary.

Lindsey Boerma contributed

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