Huffpost Politics

MI Primary Election 2012: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum Battle To The End

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WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential rivals Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum collided Tuesday in a rancorous Michigan primary that tested the clout of the GOP establishment against conservative and tea party rebels as well as the candidates themselves.

Arizona Republicans voted in the second primary of the night, and Romney was favored by far in that race that drew scant attention.

As Romney's home state, Michigan held outsized importance in the campaign to pick a Republican presidential candidate, a place where he won the primary in 2008 and could ill afford to lose this year.

Not even the opening of polls around the state brought an end to the squabbling. Romney accused Santorum of trying to hijack a victory by courting Democratic votes through automated telephone calls and suggested his rival was appealing to Michigan conservatives by making the kind of "incendiary" statements he would not.

"I'm not willing to light my hair on fire to try and get support," Romney said. "I am what I am."

Santorum brushed aside the allegations of hijacking, saying Romney had appealed for support from independents in earlier states.

"We're going to get voters that we need to be able to win this election. And we're going to do that here in Michigan today," Santorum said, referring to blue collar voters with a history of swinging between the parties. Click here to continue reading

Following up on Santorum strategist John Brabender's statement, "So we may have won Michigan," let's dive into how the numbers look thus far in each of Michigan's 14 congressional districts. Romney and Santorum will each take a delegate for earning more than 15 percent of the statewide vote. The rest of the delegates are handed out to whoever wins each congressional district -- the winner gets two for every one they win.

That means all the delegate action is spread out across the state, and thanks to the Detroit News, we can get a snapshot of how the map looks so far. It's important to note that we've a long way to go before all the results are in. The 9th Congressional District hasn't reported any results yet. (Though Romney is doing well in each of the adjacent Detroit Metro congressional districts.)

So when Brabender looks at the map, he sees that so far, his guy is leading in nine of the 14 districts. Now, some of those leads are quite close and there's no guarantee that his lead will hold, but the potential exists right now for Santorum to take home 18 of these delegates. Add the one he splits with Romney on the statewide vote, and Santorum could leave Michigan winning delegates 19-11.

Results as of this posting, via Detroit News:

District 1: 472 of 519 precincts reporting

Santorum: 39.7 percent

Romney: 39.1 percent

District 2: 152 of 296 precincts reporting

Santorum: 48.3 percent

Romney: 34.0 percent

District 3: 105 of 365 precincts reporting

Santorum: 41.6 percent

Romney: 38.0 percent

District 4: 223 of 408 precincts reporting

Santorum: 41.8 percent

Romney: 38.7 percent

District 5: 246 of 381 precincts reporting

Santorum: 39.0 percent

Romney: 38.5 percent

District 6: 242 of 295 precincts reporting

Santorum: 42.9 percent

Romney: 36.5 percent

District 7: 208 of 333 precincts reporting

Santorum: 41.9 percent

Romney: 37.2 percent

District 8: 157 of 275 precincts reporting

Romney: 42.4 percent

Santorum: 34.9 percent

District 9: No results reported

District 10: 128 of 356 precincts reporting

Santorum: 39.7 percent

Romney: 37.6 percent

District 11: 112 of 226 precincts reporting

Romney: 48.5 percent

Santorum: 31.4 percent

District 12: 187 of 453 precincts reporting

Romney: 40.5 percent

Santorum: 35.7 percent

District 13: 59 of 442 precincts reporting

Santorum: 37.1 percent

Romney: 34.4 percent

District 14: 41 of 299 precincts reporting

Romney: 60.3 percent

Santorum: 22.3 percent

-- Jason Linkins

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@ CarrieNBCNews : Michigan Dems statement on Romney: "no amount of affection for our trees will save him come November." #TreeZing

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Dave Weigel reports on Twitter that Santorum campaign strategist John Brabender "says they may have bested Romney in delegates." If you recall, winning the statewide vote only entitles the winner to a share of the the available at-large delegates. There are only two at-large delegates. The remaining delegates are awarded to the winner of each of Michigan's 14 congressional districts. There is a possibility that Santorum may win enough of those congressional districts to come out of Michigan with the larger share of the state's delegates.

I'd have called those chances small an hour ago. Brabender, however, is more confident, saying, "So we may have won Michigan." If that's true -- and one would hope that Brabender wouldn't stick his neck out like that if there weren't a solid hope that it was -- the challenge for Santorum's campaign will be convincing the Keepers Of The Political Narrative to show favor to that result.

-- Jason Linkins

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@ howardfineman : Santorum was outspent 5/6 to 1 -- at least -- in Michigan, and finished 3 points behind a winner who could get no higher than 41 percent.

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@ howardfineman : Santorum campaign tells me he'll be in Dalton, GA on Thursday at largest carpet factory. Jobs have been lost there. S talks manufacturing

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Mitt Romney made his first public plea for donations during a major campaign speech while speaking Tuesday in Michigan -- not coincidentally at a time when his campaign is burning though money.

"I need your support," Romney said after winning primaries in Michigan and Arizona. "I'm asking for you to get out and vote and I'm asking for you by the way to go on and pledge your support in every way possible. I'm asking you to join the fight for our freedom."

The Romney campaign spent a whopping .7 million during the month of January, averaging 3,225 per day. The candidate took in only about 6,451 per day during that period.

-- Elise Foley

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@ DWStweets : In #MI, Romney had to double down on his incredibly out-of-touch position that we should have "let Detroit go bankrupt."

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Update On Natasha Loder's Arrest:

Per Chad Livengood, Natasha Loder, the Economist reporter who was briefly detained at Romney's event in Novi, sat in the doorway in protest over the way her colleagues were being treated at the event. He tweets: "Just to clarify... Natasha Loder and other reporters did not have credentials to be inside the ballroom, but there was plenty of space," adding, "One reporter started demanding to speak with a Romney campaign official [and Loder] sat down in the door way in protest of the closing."

Livengood also reports that Loder was released from custody after being led away from the event in handcuffs.

Our earlier report:

A reporter for the Economist was arrested at Mitt Romney's campaign victory rally during the Michigan primary on Tuesday, according to a local Michigan reporter. Others said that the reporter was detained, not charged.

Chad Livengood, a reporter at the Lansing bureau of the Detroit News, tweeted that Natasha Loder, a Midwest reporter for the magazine, was arrested for sitting in a doorway at the crowded event, which reporters were being blocked from entering.

Livengood also snapped photos which showed a woman sitting on the floor, surrounded by police.

Richard Adams, a reporter for the Guardian, tweeted that Loder was "briefly handcuffed" by Secret Service agents.

And Toby Harnden, the U.S. editor for the Daily Mail, said that Loder had been detained and then released.

@ ChadLivengood : Reporter with The Economist arrested at #Romney event for wanting to go inside w/o pass.

-- Jason Linkins

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Mitt Romney addressed supporters Tuesday night after winning both the Arizona and Michigan GOP primaries.

"Thank you Arizona, great victory in Arizona tonight," Romney said. "And thank you Michigan. It was just a week ago that the pundits and the pollsters -- they were going to count us out."

After thanking various supporters, Romney launched into his usual attack on Obama. He targeted the president for the housing crisis, the national debt and the Keystone Pipeline.

"Obama thinks we can't wait, to which I say, 'oh yes we can,'" Romney said to much applause.

Romney said Obama "thinks he's unchecked by the constitution" and that he'd be "unrestrained" if he spent another four years in the White House. The GOP hopeful even hit Obama over the much-debated Keystone Pipeline.

"I'll get us that oil from Canada that we deserve," Romney said.

Romney acknowledged that the win in Michigan was "particularly special" because it is his home state.

"Tonight is also particularly special for me because this is the place where I was born, this is the place where I was raised," Romney said. "Michiganders in this room, we consider you all family."

"We didn't win by a lot, but we won by enough and that's all that counts," Romney said.

Romney issued a special thank you to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and Senator John McCain, who endorsed the former Massachusetts governor and campaigned for him. "They were tireless," Romney said.

-- Paige Lavender

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@ CindyhM1 : Congrats @MittRomney. On to Super Tues!

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@ ZekeJMiller : In case you were wondering, Romney is using a teleprompter

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@ samsteinhp : Mitt Romney criticizes Obama for not tackling the housing crisis, which he himself has said should hit rock bottom first

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@ mckaycoppins : Don't think Romney was expecting call-and-response from the crowd, but it's working for him. Good energy tonight.

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"The right height."

That's according to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who mentioned his home state's trees several times during recent campaign events.

Romney won Michigan's Republican primary Tuesday, though he faced a close challenge from former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

No one has yet unravelled Romney's mysterious affection for the height of the Mitten State's trees, but the candidate made another subtle tree reference in his victory tweet Tuesday night:

According to the state Department of Natural Resources, only half of Michigan's 36.4 million acres have trees. Michigan was a center for the lumber industry and saw many of its old-growth forests chopped down before the turn of the last century.

But the Department of Natural Resources notes, "Although the lands that remain forested have changed a great deal in the past 150 years, they are still very special. Romney would agree."

-- Simone Landon

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@ jonward11 : this is a retooled speech, intended to slingshot into super tuesday states

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@ jonward11 : Romney: "We won by enough and that's all that counts."

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@ ZekeJMiller : Romney: First thank you is the first state to call it — thank you Arizona — and thank you Michigan.

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@ EmilyABC : Ann Romney: "Thank you Kid Rock!"

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@ michaelpfalcone : "Thank you to our wonderful surrogates -- Donald Trump," Ann Romney says

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@ chucktodd : BTW, we may NOT be able to fully allocate all MI delegates until tmro.

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@ mckaycoppins : Romney takes the stage with Ann to loud applause. Mitt looks happier than usual.

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@ tromney : Waiting backstage.

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@ ZekeJMiller : Romney campaign says “early projections” show them winning a majority of delegates tonight.

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@ davidaxelrod : Congratulations are due for a close, hard-fought victory. Bulls 99, Hornets 95.

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@ amyewalter : Ohio will be first big test for post-MI Mitt-mentum. Watch OH polls closely over the next few days.

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@ jonward11 : Santorum says his health care approach is not like RomneyCare or Obamacare, it's YouCare, because it's based on you

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@ chucktodd : Romney won Mackinac County by 1 vote. 667 votes to Santorum's, wait for it, 666 votes.

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@ ariannahuff : Santorum has the big spotlight and decides to use it to talk about a pipeline? Not really an alternative vision.

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@ reidepstein : You'll hear from Michigan Gov Rick Snyder in about five minutes at Romney HQ. Then Romney after that....

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@ DanaBashCNN : Source tells me rick santorum called romney to concede #cnnelections

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@ jonward11 : fox calls it. room cheers.

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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who endorsed Mitt Romney earlier this week, dismissed the notion on Tuesday that the candidate's immigration rhetoric could hurt him in the general election.

"A lot of the pundits have said that," Brewer told Fox News. "But the bottom line is that we are a nation of laws and we believe in the rule of law, and any American that believes in our country understands that we have to have laws."

Brewer signed the first in a wave of state laws designed to drive undocumented immigrants out of the U.S. That law has been challenged by the federal government and is widely disliked among Latinos, the fastest-growing segment of the electorate.

Brewer said "it's probably not a good thing" that the GOP race seems likely to go on, but the campaign is "ready for the long-haul."

-- Elise Foley

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Rick Santorum addressed supporters on what he called "an absolutely great night" Tuesday.

Santorum had already lost the Arizona primary to rival Mitt Romney when he began his speech. As Santorum spoke to supporters, NBC News projected Romney as the winner of the Michigan primary as well.

After thanking his supporters, Santorum took the opportunity to talk "more specifically about three people" -- his mother, his wife and his daughter Elizabeth.

Santorum touted his 93-year-old mother's higher education and work experience, calling her an "unusual person for her time."

"She's someone who did get a college education in the 1930s and was a nurse, and got a graduate degree even as a nurse and worked full time," Santorum said. "She was a professional who actually made more money than her husband. I grew up with a very strong mom. Someone who was a professional person who taught me a lot of things about how to balance work and family and doing it well and doing it with a big heart and commitment."

Santorum also shared stories of his wife Karen, who he met "when she was just about to start the practice of law":

"I recruited her in more ways than one, to my law firm. Karen was a professional and worked for a nurse for nine years and then after that she -- we got married and she walked away. And she decided to stay home and raise her children. But she didn't quit working... raising seven children is a lot of work, but she found time also to be an author of two books. Those books that really went to the heart of the family, and something that she knows a lot about. She too has been that rock that has been beside me and has been a great example of how it's important to balance that work and family and do so committed to making sure that you are the best at both that you can be."

He rounded out his personal stories by thanking his daughter Elizabeth for her help on the campaign trail.

"She goes out on her own and campaigns, and the feedback I get is, 'you stay home, just send Elizabeth out,'" Santorum said. "I've been very, very blessed. Very blessed with great role models."

Santorum then launched into an attack on Obama's health care law. Santorum said his health care approach would differ from "RomneyCare" and "ObamaCare" to be more like "YouCare," because "it's based on you."

-- Paige Lavender

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@ DavidChalian : Wow. This Santorum speech is fascinating how it directly responds to the damage he feels has been done to his image in last 2 weeks

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@ jonward11 : lotta people in Romney room watching santorum on the TV. can't hear him tho. "more than a feeling" is roaring through the loudspeakers

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One aspect of the Republican primaries has been extraordinarily consistent: In every contest so far in which the television networks have conducted exit polls, Mitt Romney has done best among the wealthiest Republicans.

In Michigan, according the exit polls currently posted by CBS News, Romney runs strongest with Republicans who report incomes of 0,000 or more per year, running 26 percentage points ahead of Rick Santorum (55 percent to 29 percent). He runs ahead but by a much smaller, seven-point margin among those earning 0,000 to 0,000 per year (44 percent to 37 percent) and trails Santorum by four (35 percent to 39 percent) among those earning 0,000 or less.

In Arizona, the pattern is similar: Romney is leading Santorum by a whopping 48 points (63 percent to 15 percent) among those earning 0,000 or better and by smaller margins among those in lower income groups. Santorum only comes close in Arizona among voters earning less than ,000 per year, trailing Romney by just two percentage points (32 percent to 34 percent).

This pattern has been remarkably consistent, as shown in the following table, based on the seven states for which National Election Pool exit polls are available. In each case, Romney's vote is much higher among voters earning 0,000 or better than among voters earning ,000 or less.


-- Mark Blumenthal

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Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was projected the winner of Tuesday's Michigan Primary by NBC News.

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@ howardfineman : Insider's insider question: when does the infighting overtake friends and staff of Mitt Romney? The longer it takes the nets to call Mich..

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@ howardfineman : Santorum up with TV ads in every Super Tuesday state but Mass and Vermont. His people say they will focus on Ohio, TN, and even GA.

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@ alexwagner : Jan Brewer declares self part of "Team Romney," predicts victory. Unclear whether her invite to future Romney jams extends beyond tonight.

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@ daveweigel : Playing the theme from "The Natural" at Santorum party during a slideshow of campaign photos #MIPrimary

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@ electionate : With Romney's margins getting bigger in Detroit, I think there's almost no way that west Michigan can get Santorum over the top

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@ ariannahuff : Does the Romney campaign really want to talk about roofs? #dogs #onroof

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@ evanmc_s : Hard to express how surreal and staged and quiet it is in Santorum HQ right now. #GrandRapids

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@ daveweigel : They've taken out the big TV screens at Santorum party, to spare us the indignity of the coming Romney call #MIprimary

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Union members and their relatives who voted in Tuesday's GOP primary in Michigan broke for Rick Santorum over Mitt Romney by a wide margin, an indication that the state's labor community probably views the former senator from Pennsylvania as less hostile to union interests than the erstwhile frontrunner.

According to CNN exit polling, 45 percent of voters who identified themselves as union members cast their ballots for Santorum, compared with 26 percent for Romney. Among voters who said someone in their household was a union member, 45 percent went for Santorum and 27 percent for Romney.

Unlike in many other states, labor issues figured prominently in the GOP primary in Michigan, where the United Auto Workers union looms large and where residents have strong opinions about the government-financed rescue of the auto industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 17 percent of the state's workers belong to unions, one of the hightest rates in the country.

While in Michigan, Romney stood by the anti-labor message he's crafted throughout the primary season, and he tried to tar Santorum for what he described in Michigan as an "unapologetic defense of big labor."

In particular, Romney had recently been knocking Santorum for past votes he cast in the Senate against a national right-to-work law and in favor of the Davis-Bacon Act, the prevailing wage law supported by unions. Romney may have paid a price Tuesday for those sharp attacks.

Michigan union members who voted may also have been attracted to Santorum's economic plan, which stresses a robust manufacturing sector, as well as the fact that he's voiced support for private-sector unions recently.

The polling data on union members will likely stoke speculation that Santorum and unions had colluded in Michigan to tip the vote away from Romney. On Tuesday, Romney accused the Santorum camp of "teaming up" with unions to robocall Democratic voters and encourage them to vote for Santorum. Michigan is an open primary in which anyone can vote, regardless of party affiliation.

Despite the wide margin in union-member votes, Michigan voters who had strong support for the auto bailout were generally split among the two candidates, with 41 percent of voters who approved of government support voting for Romney and 38 percent for Santorum. Neither candidate supported the billion rescue plan for America's automakers at the time, but Romney was the only one who penned an op-ed in The New York Times against the idea in 2008, entitled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."

--Dave Jamieson

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@ evanmc_s : It's nearly completely silent at Santorum HQ in #GrandRapids all of a sudden. Bout as low-key as one can get

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@ FixAaron : Romney now leading by more than 20,000 votes with nearly half the vote in. Tough math for Santorum at this point.

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@ jonward11 : turnout in michigan appears to be on track to beat 2008 no?

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BuzzFeed reports:

Newt Gingrich is not going away. Or at least his SuperPAC, funded by casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, isn't.

A Republican media-buying source tells BuzzFeed that Winning Our Future, as the group is called, has reserved ad time worth a total of 0,000 for March 1 to 10 in four Super Tuesday states.

Click here to read more.

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