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Entries in Michigan Primary (8)

Friday
Mar022012

Santorum Campaign Disputes Change in Michigan Delegate Count

Steve Pope/Getty Images(VERONA, Pa.) -- The Santorum campaign held a conference call Thursday to dispute a meeting the Michigan Republican Party held the night before that changed the rules, breaking a delegate tie that awarded 15 delegates each to Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney.

Two at-large delegates are now allocated to Romney, pushing his count up to 16 and Santorum's down to 14.

Santorum national communications director Hogan Gidley said the meeting was “unannounced” and “behind closed doors.”  According to the party’s rules, written on Feb. 4, there would be proportional allocation of the two at-large delegates, but that was changed in the meeting to winner-takes-all.  Romney had edged out Santorum in the popular vote 41 percent to 38 percent, so he got both at-large delegates.

John Yob, who headed up the Santorum campaign’s Michigan strategy, explained that the party voted four to two to change the rules and he said the four that did vote to change it were Romney supporters, including party chair Bob Schostak, said to be a Romney backer although he hasn’t announced publicly.

“They vote four to two to change the rules that were previously approved to give Mitt Romney a win in his home state, rather than a tie in his home state, essentially because he was being embarrassed by it being a tie,” Yob said.

Ohio Attorney General and former Romney supporter Mike DeWine unleashed on the Romney campaign.

“This is a very sad commentary on the Romney campaign that for one delegate they would break the rules and they would risk tearing a state party apart over one delegate,” DeWine said, calling the campaign “desperate.”

DeWine also said his wife had received a robo-call “lambasting Santorum” from someone identified as “Mike.”

“I can guarantee you it was not this Mike,” DeWine said.  “They will do anything and say anything to try and get this nomination and they are very desperate.”

In response to the Santorum campaign’s charges, Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul wrote in an email to ABC News: ”Rick Santorum encouraged Democrats in Michigan to hijack the Republican Primary.  Because his strategy failed and Mitt Romney won, he is now attacking the Republican Party.  The Romney campaign respects the process as determined by the Michigan state party, and we are pleased that we have been awarded a majority of the delegates.  We are now focused on the upcoming contests.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb292012

Liberal Voters Turn Out in Attempt to Topple Romney in Michigan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It may have been a Republican primary, but Democrat voters turned out in droves to vote for Rick Santorum in the Michigan primary, presumably attempting to topple Mitt Romney in his home state.

About 10 percent of the state’s primary voters on Tuesday were Democrats, exit polls show.  And they voted overwhelmingly for Santorum, with 53 percent picking the former senator versus the 17 percent who chose Romney.

Santorum actively courted Michigan’s Democrats on the eve of the most pivotal election of the GOP primary race to date, paying for robo-calls asking liberal voters to “send a loud message to Massachusetts' Mitt Romney by voting for Rick Santorum for president.”

The Santorum campaign said the call was intended to court “Reagan Democrats.”  But the Democratic voters that turned out were no such thing; more than half -- 57 percent -- identified themselves as “liberal."  Only 5 percent said they were conservative.

Santorum’s was not the only Democrat-targeting robo-call to hit Michigan’s phone lines on Tuesday.  A President Obama-supporting political consultant sent out a call at 5 p.m. reminding voters they only had three more hours to cast their ballots.

“Of course you want to vote for Rick Santorum,” the voice of Tony Trupiano said in the call.  “And make sure that vote is an embarrassment for Mitt Romney.”

And a blow to Romney it may have been.  Without the Democrats’ vote, Romney would likely have pulled an earlier and more substantial lead over Santorum in Michigan.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

Arizona and Michigan: A Guide to Tuesday's Primaries

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After more than two weeks of quiet on the primary calendar -- although certainly not on the campaign trail -- the big day has arrived.  Michigan and Arizona will hold their much-anticipated primaries on Tuesday, with polls closing at 9 p.m. ET in both states.

Both states boast a relatively large number of registered voters.  There are 3,183,327 registered voters in Arizona.  The state counts 1,118,938 registered Republicans -- about 35 percent of the registered voter population.  Arizona’s Republican primary is only open to registered Republicans.  Voters wishing to participate were required to register with the party by Jan. 30.

Turnout in 2008 was high in the Republican primary in Arizona; almost 52 percent of registered Republicans cast their votes.  Of course, part of the reason for the high turnout might be attributed to Arizona Sen. John McCain’s being on the ballot.

Michigan has 7,279,629 registered voters.  Voters do not register by party in Michigan, meaning that anyone can participate in the primary regardless of political leanings.  Those who wish to participate were required to register by Jan. 30.  Almost 21 percent of the registered voting population turned out to vote in the state’s primary in 2008.

Neither state holds a particularly large delegate prize after both of the states lost half of their delegates as a punishment for scheduling their primaries ahead of March 1.  Arizona has 29 delegates up for grabs while Michigan has 30.  Arizona’s primary will be a winner-take-all contest, while Michigan will dole out its delegates proportionally.

Although Arizona will offer a larger amount of delegates to the ultimate winner, because they will not have to share them with any other candidates, the contest has not gained the same level of attention -- from either the media or the GOP field -- as Michigan.

This is partly because Mitt Romney appears to have a comfortable lead in the polls.  Romney finished second in Arizona in 2008 -- garnering 35 percent of the vote -- but he was competing against Arizona’s senior senator, who had served the state for decades.

Many of the votes in Arizona’s primary have already been cast.  Early voting began on Feb. 2 in the state and continues straight through to election day.  As of Monday, Feb. 27, 326,439 ballots had been cast.  (It should be noted that the Green Party primary also takes place on Feb. 28.)

Arizona is home to sizable Mormon communities in Coconino County and Navajo County, which are located in the northern-middle portion of the state, along the Utah border.  Look for Romney to take a big victory in those areas.

The numbers are much closer in Michigan, Romney’s birthplace, where his father once served as governor and an auto-industry executive.  Romney won a decisive victory in Michigan in 2008, with 39 percent of the vote -- 9 points higher than John McCain, who received 30 percent.  This time around, however, the numbers are much closer, according to recent polling.

Michigan is make it or break for Romney.  Not only would a loss in the Great Lakes State represent his third loss in a state he previously carried in 2008 (Colorado and Minnesota being the first two states), more importantly, it would represent a defeat in a place where he’s considered to have the home-field advantage.

Romney has continuously played up his self-identification as a “son of Detroit” and although from a delegate perspective, a victory in Arizona and a loss in Michigan would still likely result in Romney’s increasing his lead over the rest of the GOP field in the delegate count, the loss would be a huge symbolic blow to the campaign.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

Santorum Campaign Invites Democratic Votes in Michigan Robo-Call

Jay LaPrete/Getty Images(ROYAL OAK, Mich.) -- How badly does Rick Santorum want to win Tuesday’s Republican primary in Michigan?  So badly his campaign began making an appeal to Democrats on primary eve.

Santorum, who is locked in a tight race with Mitt Romney in Michigan, has paid for robo-calls inviting Democrats to cross-over and vote for him.  The call began hitting Michigan households on Monday.

“On Tuesday, join Democrats who are going to send a loud message to Massachusetts' Mitt Romney by voting for Rick Santorum for president,” an announcer says.

Santorum aides say it is an attempt to swing “Reagan Democrats” their way, however it is much more likely that any cross-over votes they may get will come from the liberal rather than moderate wing of the party.

Nevertheless, Santorum adviser Hogan Gidley said in an interview with ABC News, the robo-calls were an attempt to broaden Santorum’s base.

“Rick Santorum has been consistent that we’re going to need a motivated an energized conservative base and Reagan Democrats if we’re going to beat Barack Obama in the fall,” Gidley said.  “We just figured if we can get them now, then they’re going to be there with us in the fall.”

The Romney campaign sees the effort differently.

“It is outrageous that Rick Santorum is inviting Democrats into the Republican primary to vote against Mitt Romney,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement.  “Rick Santorum has moved beyond just ‘taking one for the team,’ he is now willing to wear the other team’s jersey if he thinks it will get him more votes.  We believe that Republicans will decide who wins Michigan – and we are confident that will be Mitt Romney.”

Here’s the script of the call, which was first reported by Talking Points Memo:

“Michigan Democrats can vote in the Republican primary on Tuesday.  Why is it so important?  Romney supported the bailouts for his Wall Street billionaire buddies but opposed the auto bailouts.  That was a slap in the face to every Michigan worker, and we’re not going to let Romney get away with it.  On Tuesday, join Democrats who are going to send a loud message to Massachusetts' Mitt Romney by voting for Rick Santorum for president.  This call is supported by hardworking Democratic men and women and paid for by Rick Santorum for president.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb272012

Gingrich: Romney Must Carry Michigan

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(MILNER, Ga.) -- Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, focused on a Super Tuesday victory, will be watching the Michigan battle between Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney on Tuesday from Georgia.

At a church in Georgia on Sunday, a campaign stop, Gingrich said Romney has to carry Michigan.

“I think he has an enormous amount at stake,” Gingrich said.

Though Gingrich said Michigan could be an important factor for Romney, he also said that it was very important for him to win his own home state.

“I want to focus on winning in Georgia,” Gingrich said.  “I think it is essential for us to do that and we are going to do everything we can between now and next Tuesday to win here at home.”

Gingrich said he will go to the Republican presidential convention in Tampa, Fla., to seek the nomination.  A campaign source told ABC News they requested Secret Service protection last week.  The campaign is still waiting to hear back on their request.

The former House speaker has not wavered in his expressions of confidence that he will make it to the convention, though there’s been talk among some Republican leaders that a brokered convention could be possible if Romney loses Michigan and the race remains wide open.

“We can go to Tampa.  Look, this could be like the NCAA Final Four with no elimination,” Gingrich said.  “You could have all four of us at Tampa.  You could even have number five and six if somebody gets excited and jumps in.”

Gingrich said he has high expectations for Super Tuesday, which will be a necessary day to his campaign for a chance at the nomination.

“We hope to do very well in Oklahoma and Tennessee.  We may surprise people in Idaho.  We think we have a real fighting chance in Ohio.  So, we will have to wait and see how the day works out, but I think it may be better than people expect,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb272012

Romneys Reminisce on Their Early Romance During Northern Michigan Event

Darren McCollester/Getty Images(TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.) -- Just two days before Michiganders head to the polls for the Republican presidential primary, Mitt and Ann Romney spent an evening up north, flaunting their Michigan roots and wooing a crowd with stories of stolen kisses and lakeside games.

“You know this young lady next to me, she and I used to spend a little time in Manistee, just down the shoreline a little bit.  Her parents had a cottage,” Mitt Romney began.  “I actually kissed her there.  And ahhh -- Oh yeah, oh yeah.  She was 16, I was 18, you know.”

Quick to the draw, Ann Romney admitted to the crowd gathered in the Park Place Hotel that their teenage affection didn’t go unnoticed.

“This is old stompin’ grounds,” she said.  “Mitt mentioned he stole a kiss up here.  Well, that’s nice.  My father caught us, by the way.  We were on the pier, do you remember that?  I love being in Michigan because I love doing this.”

Romney spent Sunday morning in Daytona Beach, Fla., where he mingled with fans and held an informal finance event before heading to Northern Michigan for a campaign stop.

Refraining from mentioning chief GOP rival Sen. Rick Santorum by name, Romney did make a veiled reference to him, referring to Santorum as “one of them” in a remark about the rest of the Republican field.

“We have some other good folks in the race, the other two sort of leading contenders are folks who spent their life in Washington, working there and being elected officials there,” Romney said.  “I don’t think you can change Washington if you’ve been part of the culture of Washington.  The other night at the debate when one of them said that, you know, he voted against something or voted for something he disagreed with and he said he did it to take one for the team.  But my team is the people of Michigan and of America and I’m going to fight for you."

“If you want to send someone to Washington who is down there working for his team, whoever that might be, and working around the edges to make little changes here and little changes there and to work with this committee and that subcommittee and so forth, then there are plenty of other people to choose,” Romney said.  “But if you want someone who will dramatically and fundamentally change Washington and bring us more jobs and less debt and smaller government, then I’m your guy.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb252012

Romney: Santorum Would Like to Take Back Debate Remarks

ABC News(LANSING, Mich.) -- Mitt Romney said Saturday that he thinks Sen. Rick Santorum “wishes he could take back” some of the things he said during this week’s debate.

“We had this other debate the other night—that was so much fun that debate out in Arizona— and I think Senator Santorum wishes he could take back what he said,” said Romney, who addressed the Ingham Lincoln Day Breakfast at the Chisholm Hills Banquet Center in Lansing. “He talked about how he voted for some things because he took one for the team. The team has got to be the people of America. And this is not time for the politics of the past.”

Romney was referring to Santorum’s remarks during CNN’s debate earlier this week, when the former Pennsylvania senator was asked about his support of No Child Left Behind.

“I have to admit, I voted for that,” Santorum said at the debate. “It was against the principles I believed in, but, you know, when you’re part of the team, sometimes you take one for the team, for the leader, and I made a mistake. You know, politics is a team sport, folks. And sometimes you’ve got to rally together and do something.”

On Saturday, Romney continued to use Santorum’s own words against him.

“This is not time for lifelong polls that explain why they voted for this or that based on what they were asked to do by their fellow colleagues. This is time for us to get America back on track,” he said. “And whether you agree with me or disagree with me on one issue or another we probably agree on 98 percent of the issues in front of us. And I will be a president of principle. I will fight for the things that get America strong. I will get us working again and I will shrink the size of the federal government.”

Romney has a full day of campaigning ahead of him just a few days prior to Tuesday’s primary in Michigan, and his attention on Saturday was pointed primarily at President Obama, particularly when it came to placing blame for the surging gas prices blanketing the country.

“And then there is energy, every year we send hundreds of billions of dollars out of our country to go buy energy from other nations,” Romney said. “I think this president faced a number of easy decisions that he missed, but this one is perhaps either at or near the top of the list: How in the world could he have said to Canada ‘No, don’t bring in that Keystone pipeline, we don’t need your oil.’ At a time like this, when we’re seeing gas prices like they are, we need to get that energy into this country.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb252012

Santorum Takes Selective Swipes At Romney Before Mich. Primary 

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(LINCOLN PARK, Mich.) -- In a 55-minute speech in this blue-collar Detroit suburb, Rick Santorum mostly steered clear of the harsh anti-Mitt Romney talking points his campaign was circulating earlier on Friday.

Instead, Santorum methodically worked his way through a 10-point plan for restoring the country to fiscal health, including the reforms he plans to enact in the areas of housing, energy and taxation during his first 100 days in office.

Santorum mentioned Romney by name only a handful of times.

He criticized his rival’s tax plan, which would limit deductions for charitable giving from those in the top tax bracket. The former Pennsylvania senator called it an example of “torpedoing the very civic institutions that make America work.”

Earlier on Friday, the Santorum campaign circulated what amounted to a tirade against Romney, which aides said, their candidate would be using to contrast himself with his opponent between now and the Feb. 28 primary in Michigan.

But few of those lines made their way into Santorum’s speech, which he delivered to a crowd of roughly 200 people, including about a dozen nuns, at a local Knights of Columbus hall.

Without naming names, Santorum lambasted his rivals for throwing “mud and dirt” on the campaign trail.

“This campaign, as we’ve seen, can get off the ideas, off the vision,” Santorum said, promising to finish his own campaign “on a high note.”

Santorum, who is locked in a close race with Romney in this state with just three full days of campaigning left before voters head to the polls, focused his sharpest barbs at President Obama.

He accused the president of intentionally driving up the cost of gasoline in order to serve the administration’s anti-global warming agenda. “I don’t know how stupid he thinks America is,” Santorum said.

He also assailed President Obama for neglecting the country’s manufacturing industry, which Santorum pledged to help revive by eliminating the corporate tax on manufacturing companies.

“Guess what’s happening to small town America?” Santorum said. “It’s still dying on the vine.”

He cast himself as a fiscal hawk whose experience in government was a plus not a minus, as Romney has said.

“I proposed a balanced budget before it was really cool to balance a budget,” Santorum noted, touting his proposal to reduce government spending by $5 trillion over five years.

“No one else has come close to that number,” Santorum said, “not even Ron Paul.”

As he has before, Santorum offered up an I-feel-your-pain line to his audience: “The housing value of my house is a fraction of when we bought it,” he told the crowd.

He called his plan “inclusive” and said that “Americans are looking for someone who can paint a vision, who can draw a contrast.”

Before he wrapped up, Santorum took an opportunity to hammer Romney on the issue of government bailouts. His campaign is running an ad in Michigan attacking the former Massachusetts governor for opposing the bailout of the automobile industry, a position that Santorum, himself, also took.

“You may not like my position on bailouts, but I’ve been consistent and principled,” Santorum said, “unlike other people in this race.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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