(CNN) - Rick Santorum's campaign accused Mitt Romney of "political thuggery" Thursday after the Michigan Republican Party announced it was awarding two at-large delegates to the former Massachusetts governor.
The decision by the state party means that Romney won 16 delegates Tuesday night and Santorum was awarded the remaining 14 of the 30 delegates up for grabs in the primary. Media outlets, including CNN, previously estimated the count as a 15-15 tie between the candidates.
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The Michigan GOP's announcement sparked an angry response from the Santorum campaign.
"There's just no way this is happening," said Hogan Gidley, national communications director of the Santorum Campaign. "We've all heard rumors that Mitt Romney was furious that he spent a fortune in his home state, had all the political establishment connections and could only manage a tie Rick Santorum. But we never thought the Romney campaign would try to rig the outcome of an election by changing the rules after the vote. This kind of back room dealing political thuggery just cannot and should not happen in America."
The Romney campaign brushed off Gidley's accusation and accused Santorum of trying to "hijack" the primary by encouraging Democrats to vote for him in the primary. The Michigan primary is open to all registered voters, regardless of party affiliation.
"Because his strategy failed and Mitt Romney won, he is now attacking the Republican Party," said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul. "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."
Saul Anuzis, a member of the Michigan Republican Credentials Committee, said the committee voted last month to award the two statewide delegates to the winner of the primary vote, but there was confusion in the memo sent to the campaigns in regards to that vote.
"While we all regret the error in the memo, it does not change what was voted on by the committee, which was to award the two at-large delegates to the statewide winner," said Anuzis, a prominent Romney supporter in Michigan. "It was premature for any candidate to be declaring the delegate count prior to an official announcement by the Michigan Republican Party."
But Gidley, in a statement to CNN, disputed this explanation.
"Everybody knew the rules before the election, but after the election was over, the Establishment changed the rules for Mitt Romney," Gidley said.
Michigan Republicans originally received 56 delegates in their total allotment but was penalized after breaking national rules for setting their primary date. It takes 1,144 delegates to win the Republican nomination.
– CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger contributed to this report.
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All primaries have these kinds of "fairness" and establishment deal kind of issues crop up. What's interesting to me is that when Clinton & Obama were wrangling over the Florida and Michigan delegates (remember how they were stripped for holding their primaries out of order?) their camps did some accusing of "playing politics" but NEITHER went to the kinds of extremes these campaigns do – calling each other liars and frauds, using terms like political "thuggery" or actually saying the other side was trying to rig the election. Regardless of who wins, how can any candidate get the entire party behind him after being excoriated like that. Seems like nobody is thinking of how this thing ends.
If you can not win, then say they cheated and call them names. Sounds like a little kid playing a game.
Consider the fact that “home teachers” receive no compensation for what they do. In fact, neither does anyone else in a Mormon congregation. The whole enterprise is supervised by a lay clergy that will often work over forty hours a week in their unpaid positions in addition to their “real” jobs – you know, the ones that actually earn them money. Mitt Romney has spent his entire adult life in these kinds of high-responsibility, time-intensive positions. He has been both a bishop – a leader of a “ward” that consists of a congregation of about 500 people – and a stake president, who oversees a “stake” which consist of about six or so wards, giving him ecclesiastical responsibility for thousands of people.
So what does this mean? What, precisely, does a bishop or a stake president do that eats up so much of their time?
Go to a Mormon meeting on any given Sunday, and you’ll see three dudes sitting up by the pulpit. The guy in the middle is the bishop, and he’s already spent most of the day in meetings where he reviewed the ward’s staffing needs and organizing relief efforts for families who may be struggling with health, financial, or spiritual issues. He’s also been meeting one-on-one with members of the church who look to him for counsel and support for personal problems that would turn your hair white. Usually, he’s been doing all this since before the sun came up, so don’t be surprised if he nods off while the meeting progresses.
To Independent from FL: go mitt? Hah! He has folks cheating for him....especially up in Maine. Suspect: Charlie Webster!
In Iowa: Suspect: The Governor and other top GOP elites...
This election year is one for the records when it comes to outright fraud.
I am ready to change my party affliation....
I wonder how much those votes cost Mittens , more less than the maine votes????????
Cry a little more santorum
What do you expect every state so far has had tampering and evidence to prove it. Funny thing is the tampering always favors Romney, hurts Santorium and Newt a little, and cheats Paul alot. It seems to be clear someone in favor of Romney has been doing this and is cheating. Dont stand for this please, do not support Romney.
Rick if you can't pull this nomination off, just remember how Romney has done you! Payback would be the best solution by casting your vote for Obama! They say the GOP will band together in the end, but I would find it hard to support this guy if I were you! Don't take it man standing up!
Santorium calls it thuggery and here he was in the news boasting that it was a win for him....hahahaha being boastful isnt very Christian. How oes it make you look? Oh yeah even more foolish.
As long as our President wins MI in November I could care less which one of these guys get 2 more delegates....
I am shocked SHOCKED that Samtorum would be crying like a little girl over this...oh wait, that is ALL Santorum does.