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Santorum Could Be Ineligible For 18 Ohio District Delegates -- Report Santorum Could Be Ineligible For 18 Ohio District Delegates -- Report

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CAMPAIGN 2012

Santorum Could Be Ineligible For 18 Ohio District Delegates -- Report

In a potentially ominous Super Tuesday setback for Rick Santorum, a campaign filing mishap in Ohio could leave him ineligible to be awarded 18 Buckeye State district delegates -- more than a quarter of the total at stake there, ABC News reported Friday.

Ohio has 66 delegates total, with 63 at stake on Tuesday. Santorum failed to qualify for any district delegates in three Ohio congressional districts representing nine delegates because he didn't turn in names there.

 

ABC News reported that in six other congressional districts, the former Pennsylvania senator's campaign submitted fewer names than required to be eligible for all three delegates up for grabs in each district. That would put another nine delegates in jeopardy. 

Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley responded to the report by issuing a statement that sought to depict the issue as a continuation of a controversy in Michigan. Santorum contends he and Mitt Romney should have split the delegates evenly in that state, but party officials there awarded Romney 16 and Santorum 14 in a move that the latter has decried as dirty politics and is contesting.

"The attempt by the establishment to to deceive the voters of Ohio and further their hand-picked candidate will be met with resistance on Tuesday," Gidley said. "I want to be clear -- Rick Santorum's name will appear on every ballot in the state of Ohio, and every vote cast will go towards his at-large delegate allocation.

 

"As it relates to individual congressional districts, it's clear we aren't the establishment hand-picked candidate, and back in December we were a small effort focused on Iowa. Now that we've won several states, obviously much has changed, and we feel confident that we will do well in both the delegate and popular vote count on Tuesday."

But a Romney spokesman seized on the report as further evidence that Santorum is a vastly inferior candidate. 

"Rick Santorum has failed to get on the ballot in Virginia, has failed to file full delegate slates in Tennessee, New Hampshire and Illinois, and has failed to submit enough delegates in several Ohio congressional districts," said the spokesman, Ryan Williams, alluding to other Santorum logistical pitfalls. "The fact that he cannot execute the simple tasks that are required to win the Republican nomination proves that Rick Santorum is incapable of taking on President Obama's formidable political machine." 

If he wins in a district where he failed to allocate a full slate of three delegates, Santorum would be eligible to take only the delegates he has already allocated in that district. But the unallocated delegates would not be awarded to anyone else. 

 

"On Super Tuesday, if Sen. Santorum were to carry a district where he has not seated a full delegate slate, he will be awarded delegates where he has submitted delegate names," Ohio Republican Party spokesman Chris Maloney told The Plain Dealer of Cleveland. "And the additional delegates in that district will be unallocated."

Such a situation, The Plain Dealer said, sets up challenges -- if not from Santorum, then from political rivals such as Romney or Newt Gingrich.

The Ohio state party told the newspaper it has not faced this situation before, but it has been reviewing its bylaws and is prepared, if there is a challenge, to convene what it calls a "committee on contests."

Sarah B. Boxer and Rebecca Kaplan contributed

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