Friday, March 2, 2012

Follow-up to article on Michigan primary

In my article on the Michigan primary I included the following in the article itself but didn't quote it in my post of a couple of days ago.
According to the latest figures from the Secretary of State, Romney won the Republican primary with 41.07% of the 996,126 votes cast in the G.O.P. side of the race, Santorum came in second with 37.86%, Paul placed third with 11.62%, and Gingrich finished out of the money with 6.53%. Despite Romney's clear victory in the statewide popular vote, he and Santorum split the state's delegates to the Republican National Convention evenly, at least according to the preliminary results on the Michigan Republican Party's web page for the primary. Romney and Santorum each won seven congressional districts, earning 14 delegates apiece, and split the two delegates determined by the statewide vote, for a total of 15 delegates for each candidate.
It turns out that the Michigan Republican Party decided to allocate both at-large delegates to Romney. Chuck Stokes of WXYZ-TV explains.

The state Republican Party has set the delegates that will be awarded, based on the results of Tuesday's primary.
As Stokes explains, Romney now has 16 delegates, while Santorum has 14, so the delegates are no longer evenly split. On the one hand, that's a reasonable result given the outcome of the vote. On the other, it wasn't what the candidates or the media, including me, believed would happen given how their understanding of the rules. I'll let the Detroit Free Press explain.
The vote came despite the party’s rules that the two at-large delegates are supposed to be awarded on a proportional basis based on the statewide popular vote.
Saul Anuzis, a member of the credentials committee, said the party’s rules were passed in early February to award the two at-large delegates to the statewide winner, but that a memo sent, in error, to the candidates’ campaigns said the delegates would be distributed proportionately.

“While we regret the error in the memo, it does not change what was voted on by the committee,” Anuzis said. “This is much to do about nothing.”
This decision didn't sit well with two members of the committee, one of whom spoke to the Detroit Free Press about it.
Former Attorney General Mike Cox is a supporter of Romney and even acted as a surrogate for the candidate on several occasions during the last three weeks.

But Wednesday night’s 4-2 vote to award the two at-large delegates to Romney didn’t pass the smell test for Cox.

“I have this crazy idea that you follow the rules,” Cox said. “I’d love to give the at-large delegates to Mitt Romney, but our rules provide for strict apportionment.”
This is the latest episode in a long-running comedy of errors in the Republican primaries and caucuses. I'll let Taegan Goddard of Political Wire sum it up.
The Republican presidential campaign has been one of the sloppiest in memory.

Mitt Romney was declared the winner in Iowa until several days later miscounted votes were "found" which put Rick Santorum ahead. Romney was named the victor in Maine without all caucus votes counted because they were "lost" in someone's email. Now, the Michigan delegate count was changed two days after the primary either due to sloppiness, ambiguity in the rules or a backroom power play.

It sure makes you wonder.
The question he asked was "Why so sloppy?" The answers range from simple incompetence to lack of belief in democracy. I'm not going to pick one. Instead, I'll just repeat that I am glad I am no longer a Republican!

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