The PJ Tatler

Michigan: Romney Gets 16 Delegates, Santorum Decries 'Back Room Deal'

Michigan’s February 28 primary put 30 delegates on the table. Thanks to the close vote and the way the state allocates those delegates, it has taken a couple of days but we finally have a score: Romney gets 16, Santorum gets 14:

Some of the district races were extremely close, with Santorum winning the 1st District, which includes the Upper Peninsula, by just 790 votes out of more than 80,000 cast. Romney won another district, the 5th, by just 452 votes out of more than 54,000.The delay was apparently due, in part, to differing interpretations over the division of the state’s two at-large delegates, which were supposed to be awarded to the candidate with the most votes statewide, in this case, Romney.

Under one interpretation of the state’s delegate plan, if the outcome of the statewide vote was sufficiently close, each of the top two finishers would get one delegate each. Under that interpretation, the result would have been a delegate tie, with Romney and Santorum receiving 15 each.

Thus, the struggle over deciding who won the at-large delegates amounted to a fight over one delegate out of 2,286 voting delegates at the Republican National Convention — and, of course, bragging rights for Santorum if he had fought Romney to a delegate draw in his home state.

Romney won the state’s popular vote by three percentage points — close, but not insanely close. Certainly closer than Romney wanted it to be, in one of his home states. So he gets the two at-large delegates and a narrow win, 16-14. That has sparked the following email from the Santorum camp.

Verona, PA – The Rick Santorum for President Campaign made the following statement upon the delegate ruling from the Michigan Republican Party.

Hogan Gidley, National Communications Director, said: “There’s just no way this is happening.  We’ve all heard rumors that Mitt Romney was furious that he spent a fortune in his home state, had all the political establishment connections and could only manage a tie Rick Santorum.  But we never thought the Romney campaign would try to rig the outcome of an election by changing the rules after the vote. This kind of back room dealing political thuggery just cannot and should not happen in America.”

Thuggery?

More from The Hill:

Santorum’s camp said Wednesday that it expected Michigan’s delegates to be split evenly because each of the two candidates won seven congressional districts, thereby giving each of them one at-large delegate.

But Saul Anuzis, a member of the state committee that deals with the delegate counts and a prominent Romney supporter, said the Santorum accusation was the result of a miscommunication. He said the two at-large delegates were always going to go to whoever won the statewide primary, according to the Free Press. He added that the Santorum campaign though otherwise because a memo was sent out incorrectly stating that the delegates would be divvied out proportionately.

“While we regret the error in the memo, it does not change what was voted on by the committee,” Anuzis said, according to the Detroit paper. “This is much to do about nothing.”