Santorum campaign claims a tie in Michigan

at 01:24 PM ET, 02/29/2012

Rick Santorum’s campaign is declaring the Michigan primary to be a tie — pointing out that it looks like each candidate will win 15 of the state’s 30 delegates.

While there has been no final determination of who won how many delegates in Michigan on Tuesday, current results suggest both candidates won seven of the state’s 14 congressional districts, each of which award two delegates to the winner. In addition, Santorum adviser John Brabender said the state’s two at-large delegates are likely to be split between Romney and Santorum because the vote was so close.


Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. senator Rick Santorum holds up a piece of oil-rich shale rock as he speaks with supporters at an election night rally on Feb. 28, 2012 in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Joe Raedle — Getty Images)

“It’s highly likely this is going to end up being a tie, based on the data that we have,” Brabender said. “I don’t know how you look at that as anything besides this being a strong showing for Rick Santorum and anything short of a disaster for Mitt Romney.

“If we can do this well in Romney’s home state, this bodes well for Super Tuesday.”

Romney won the popular vote in the state by about 3 percentage points, according to the latest tally.

As we noted Wednesday morning, the delegate picture in Michigan isn’t completely settled, though. Brabender acknowledged that his assertions were based on the best data available and not a concrete final word from the state Republican Party, but said a tie was likely.

Then Brabender made the case that a tie or even a close finish was a loss for Romney.

Brabender noted that Romney outspent Santorum by a wide margin and that he was born in the state, where his father is a well-regarded former governor.

He also noted that Romney’s campaign said in the runup to the Feb. 7 contests that they weren’t as important because delegates weren’t awarded based on the results of those contests.

Romney’s campaign issued a preemptive response, arguing that Santorum was only as close as he was because Democrats turned out to vote for him in an effort to thwart Romney.

Santorum’s campaign even ran robocalls seeking support from registered Democrats.

“If the only way Rick Santorum thinks he can win an election is to recruit Democrats to vote against Mitt Romney, he needs to reevaluate why he is even in this race,” Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades said in a statement. “Republicans should choose the nominee, not Democrats. Rick Santorum needs to apologize and pledge that he won’t resort to these dirty tactics on Super Tuesday.”

Even if the delegate race in Michigan was a tie, Romney still won far more delegates on Tuesday. By winning Arizona’s primary, he takes home all of that state’s 29 available delegates. So Romney still won nearly three-fourths of the delegates available on Tuesday.

 
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