Huffpost Politics

Rick Santorum Contests Michigan Delegate Count

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LANSING, Mich. — Rick Santorum's presidential campaign asked Friday that the Republican National Committee's legal counsel investigate the Michigan GOP's decision to give a delegate Santorum thought he'd won to Mitt Romney.

State party rules said 28 delegates were to be awarded based on Tuesday's results in each of the state's 14 congressional districts. Two at-large delegates were to be awarded based on the statewide vote in the GOP presidential primary.

But the state party's credentials committee said Thursday that it changed the rules Feb. 4 to give both at-large delegates to the overall winner. As a result, Romney ended up with 16 delegates to Santorum's 14, rather than a 15-15 split.

Credentials committee member Saul Anuzis, a Romney supporter, said a party memo saying the at-large delegates would be awarded proportionally was wrong.

"It is clear now that the memo did not properly communicate the intent of the committee," Anuzis said. "Could you interpret it both ways? Yes. But this is what we decided."

The decision angered Santorum supporters in Michigan and nationally, with some accusing party leaders of trying to make the switch so Romney could declare victory in his native state.

"This request is not about the allocation of a single delegate; it is about ensuring a transparent electoral process, avoiding unscrupulous tactics and backroom deals by establishment figures and campaigns who may not have received the result they hoped for at the ballot box," Santorum campaign lawyer Cleta Mitchell said in a letter sent to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus requesting the investigation.

The Santorum campaign said the decision to change the delegate allocation rules occurred after Tuesday's election, a charge Michigan GOP spokesman Matt Frendewey denies.

Still, credentials committee member Mike Cox voted Thursday against giving Romney 16 delegates because he said the candidates went into Tuesday's election thinking the at-large delegates would be awarded proportionally because that's what a memo sent to the campaigns said.

During a conference call with reporters Friday, the Santorum campaign's Michigan chairman said the credentials committee should reverse its decision giving Romney both at-large delegates and split the delegates 15-15 rather than allow the dispute to drag on to a fight before the RNC rules committee at the national convention.

"Now is the time ... to make sure this is resolved," Glenn Clark said.

Frendewey said the committee can't change the rules at this point.

"They have the right to challenge the allocation of the delegates, but we've allocated them by our rules," Frendewey said. "The rules never changed. ... It's settled."

Michigan originally had 59 national convention delegates but lost half by holding its primary ahead of March 6, in violation of national party rules.

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