Michigan, Won By Romney, Then ‘Tied’, Now Won By Romney Again

As we all know, Mitt Romney got the most votes in Tuesday’s primary in Michigan. Initial reports then states that 15 delegates each would nevertheless go to him and Rick Santorum because each won seven congressional districts.

Santorum was only too happy to characterize this circumstance as a tie, despite the fact that rode into the state on the remains of a wave generated mostly by means of wins in states that awarded no delegates at all. But one has to refer to his status as being on a waning wave in large part because thinking through the broader implications of his public statements is not Santorum’s strong point.

Well, the results are now that Romney gets both of the state’s at-large delegates, resulting in an outright win both in votes (41%-38%) and delegates (16-14).

Naturally, Santorum is less than pleased, accusing Romney of “thuggery.” A more inapt word for Romney is difficult to imagine, but there you have it. The state GOP says the rules decided on beforehand set forth that delegates were to be so distributed, but someone misstated them in a memo. That’s easily checked; Santorum really should’ve tasked a staffer with doing so before saying something so inflammatory (but see the fourth sentence of this post).

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, , ,
Dodd Harris
About Dodd Harris
Dodd, who used to run a blog named ipse dixit, is an attorney, a veteran of the United States Navy, and a fairly good poker player. He contributed over 650 pieces to OTB between May 2007 and September 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Amuk3.


  1. Santorum’s reaction to this news is just further evidence of the amateur hour nature of his campaign

  2. Brummagem Joe says:

    Wow Romney got 16 and Santorum got 14….a landslide then…Wow

  3. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Calling Romney a “thug” is sort of like calling Vanilla Ice a “gangsta’.”

  4. You’re forgetting the 49 from Arizona which was winner-take-all. Romney is building a slow lead in the delegate count, but Santorum is playing Loser’s Poker at this point

  5. JohnMcC says:

    Somehow I had a suspicion that the Republicans would continue their string of screwed up elections. “Someone” misstated the rules in a memo!? And no one noticed? They just keep me in stitches.

  6. There was no screwing up here John. Just the media being pre-mature about reporting delegate totals

  7. An Interested Party says:

    Romney really has this thing all sewn up

  8. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    There was no screwing up here John. Just the media being pre-mature about reporting delegate totals

    That’s not what the former Republican AG of the state who was on the committee says. According to him they re-wrote the rules. Why the Romney campaign would indulge in this bit of backroom dealing over one vote which is going to tick off a lot of people seems like an example of his campaign’s amateur hour approach not Santorums.

  9. @Brummagem Joe:

    Funny, because every explanation of how MI’s delegates were being allocated before Tuesday made it clear that it was a two step process. First, delegates were awarded proportionally based on the results in each of the state’s Congressional Districts. Then, the at-large delegates would be awarded to the winner of the statewide vote total.

    Claiming the rules were changed is disingenuous.

  10. Brummagem Joe says:
  11. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Claiming the rules were changed is disingenuous.

    So the former Republican AG and Romney supporter is lying….okay

  12. @Brummagem Joe:

    Gee the guy who won the state gets the most delegates. Sounds like that’s how it ought to work.

    Also, the state party is entitled to set its own rules on delegate allocation so this is really a pointless discussion

    This paragraph from the ABC story seems to explain the story completely:

    The Michigan GOP said today that it had explained the rules wrong: The two at-large delegates were to be awarded winner-take-all, according to a Feb. 4 decision by the party’s Credentials Committee.


    The confusion evidently stemmed from the penalty Michigan incurred for holding its primary ahead of the calendar pre-approved by the Republican National Committee, which will consequently dock Michigan half of its delegates, bringing the state’s delegate total down to 30. The state party maintains that the RNC might not apply that penalty, so it concocted two sets of delegate-allocation rules–one counting 59 delegates, another counting 30. The Credentials Committee’s decision, as explained today by party spokesman Matt Frendewey, addressed delegate allocation assuming the RNC will enforce its penalty–which it almost certainly will, in the event that the nomination is not decided before the national convention in Tampa, Fla., this August.

    Case closed

  13. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Gee the guy who won the state gets the most delegates. Sounds like that’s how it ought to work.

    Also, the state party is entitled to set its own rules on delegate allocation so this is really a pointless discussion

    But that wasn’t how it was supposed to work according to a well nigh unimpeachable source I’ve just provided. So yes I can see you wouldn’t want continue this pointless discussion.

  14. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Case closed

    Well since they apparently changed the rules they would say that wouldn’t they but obviously a source with perhaps more integrity than some thinks otherwise. What important about this is not one delegate it’s the appearance of impropriety .

  15. Seems to me that they applied the rules that would apply if the RNC punished them for having an early primary, which will in fact happen. Nothing to see here

  16. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Nothing to see here

    So why did a well nigh unimpeachable source and Romney supporter into the bargain say otherwise? Whatever the rights and wrongs of it it strikes me as a rather clumsy maneuver over one vote that just reinforces the impression the Republican establishment want to fix the election for Romney.

  17. LaMont says:

    Many are missing the point. It is not about popular vote should win (which I do agree with) or that Santorum’s staff “unprofessionally” spoke to soon. The Michigan primary rules came out in a memo to the candidates on Feb 7th 2012 clearly stating that the two at large delegates would be awarded proportionally to the candidates based on the number of congressional districts won. This is what all candidates understood including Mitt’s group. Santorum staff was not out of bounds by repeating what was thought to be the rules. The problem is – The Michigan primary staff evidently had a non-public meeting, get this, 3 DAYS before (Feb 4th) the memo was sent. In that meeting they determined that the two delegates would go to the popular vote. The memo clearly was not an accurate depiction of what was discussed at that meeting. Now one could come to two conclusions – either they really changed the rules before the memo went out, thus, confirming that the memo sent was a mistake. Or, they initially agreed to the Feb 4th rule then changed their minds before sending the amended rules in the Feb 7th memo. If the latter is true (which would not be a stretch considering the underlying perception that previous primaries were rigged by the “establishment” to pick a clear winner in Romney), Santorum’s staff could have a legitimate point in that Michigan reverted back to an initial rule (which was not communicated to anyone) to choose a clear winner in the primary. This is why Michigan’s former Attorney General (a Romney supporter) voted against the rule that made Romney the winner. He stated the following, “I was a Romney surrogate. I’m firmly on his team, but a rule’s a rule,” referring to the rule given in the Feb 7th memo.

    Source – http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/03/michigan_gop_changes_delegate.html

  18. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: According to the NY Times, it wasn’t the “media” screwing up — the state Republicans sent a letter to both campaigns saying that the two delegates would be allotted proportionally. Then, when Romney won, they announced this was a “mistake.”

    It’s actually harder to see this as an innocent mistake than to see a transparently corrupt move to protect one candidate — unless you’re carrying Romney’s water, the way Dodd so obviously is.

  19. Brummagem Joe says:


    unless you’re carrying Romney’s water, the way Dodd so obviously is.

    Well he’s equally obviously not the only one carrying water for Romney.

  20. Dodd says:


    unless you’re carrying Romney’s water, the way Dodd so obviously is.

    Now that’s funny.

  21. Franklin says:

    @LaMont: Finally, someone who’s actually read and understood what actually happened, thank you.