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Santorum Upset By Michigan Delegate Decision

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And in Michigan, there's a fight going on over one delegate to the Republican National Convention. Rick Santorum's campaign team says its candidate is a victim of, quote, thuggery. They accuse Michigan Republican leaders of engineering an after-the-fact rules change to give Mitt Romney a slim lead in delegates from last Tuesday's state primary.

We have more from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta.

RICK PLUTA, BYLINE: Rick Santorum's campaign says the plot was designed to ensure Mitt Romney did not suffer the humiliation of a tie in delegates from the state where he was born and raised. Tuesday's primary vote was very, very close, but the party still awarded Romney both the state's at-large delegates instead of granting one apiece to each candidate.

JOHN BRABENDER: This is nothing short of shocking.

PLUTA: John Brabender is a senior Santorum adviser. He says one delegate out of the more than 2,200 headed to Tampa is not the issue.

BRABENDER: I think people need to get to the bottom line and know exactly what happened, when it happened, why it happened.

PLUTA: Matt Frendewey, of the Michigan Republican Party, says there was a miscommunication after the state GOP changed its rules a month ago.

MATT FRENDEWEY: There's no backdoor deals. There's no, you know, smoke-filled rooms, as some people may allege.

PLUTA: But another top party official says otherwise. Mike Cox is a former state attorney general and a Romney supporter. He says the state GOP did change the rules, and it was wrong.

MIKE COX: It does kind of resound of third-world countries.

PLUTA: The Santorum campaign says it will ask the Republican National Committee to investigate.

For NPR News, I'm Rick Pluta in Lansing, Michigan. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Rick Pluta