Romney, Santorum spar for last Michigan delegates

By By Stephen Ohlemacher

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 29 2012 11:30 a.m. MST

A supporter's reflection and the image of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, are seen on the screen of his iPad as he photographs Romney, greeting supporters at American Posts in Toledo, Ohio, Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012.

Gerald Herbert, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Despite winning the popular vote in Michigan's primary, Mitt Romney was in a tight race with Rick Santorum to win a majority of the state's delegates to the Republican National Convention.

With 26 of the state's 30 delegates decided, Romney and Santorum each have 13. Michigan awards most of its delegates based on results in each of its 14 congressional districts — handing out two for winning each district.

Results were incomplete in the final two congressional districts as of midday Wednesday. But with 98 percent of the precincts reporting, Santorum had a slight edge in both. If his lead holds in both districts, Santorum would win a majority of the state's delegates, or 17 to Romney's 13.

John Brabender, senior adviser for Santorum's campaign, told reporters Wednesday that he expected Michigan's delegates would be split evenly between Romney and Santorum. The candidate himself predicted as much, too.

"We're going to walk out of Michigan with 15 delegates, and he's going to walk out of Michigan with 15 delegates," Santorum said, campaigning in Powell, Tenn.

Romney won all 29 delegates in Arizona's primary Tuesday.

Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul were shut out of delegates in Tuesday's contests.

In the overall race for delegates, Romney leads with 165, including endorsements from Republican National Committee members who automatically attend the convention and can support any candidate they choose. Santorum has 85 delegates, Newt Gingrich has 32 and Ron Paul has 19.

It will take 1,144 delegates to win the Republican nomination for president.

Associated Press writer Erik Schelzig in Powell, Tenn., contributed to this report.

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