02/28/2012 03:06 pm ET Updated Apr 29, 2012

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


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