Politics

Santorum embrace of Democrats’ crossover ploy leaves bad blood in Michigan

NOVI, Mich. — Even after Mitt Romney was declared the victor in the Michigan primary last night and delivered a magnanimous address to supporters, some of the Romney team in the Wolverine State were not forgiving of runner-up Rick Santorum.  Quite a few expressed feelings ranging from disappointment to outright anger at the former Pennsylvania senator over reports his campaign embraced the plan of state Democrats and union bosses to get their supporters to vote in the GOP primary to embarrass front-runner Romney in his homestate.

“I’m disappointed in Mr. Santorum, and he was my second choice for President after Mitt,” Linda Glisman of Rochester, Michigan, a longtime GOP precinct delegate and 9th District GOP committeewoman, told me at Romney’s victory party, “When his campaign began placing robocalls to Democrats reminding them they could vote in our primary and still participate in Democratic caucuses to elect national convention delegates in May, he was going along with the Democratic Party.  I know it’s a free country, but I certainly would not have done it.”

Numerous Republican leaders, notably State Attorney General Bill Schuette (who is Romney’s state chairman), issued sharply-worded/no hyphens with adverbs statements about the Santorum campaign going along with what they called a Democratic “sneak attack.”

(By most counts, only about 10 percent of those who voted in the GOP contest last night were Democratic backers — down, according to Michigan Republican National Committeeman Saul Anuzis, “from 2000, when about 17 percent of the voters in our primary were Democrats and they came over to back John McCain to embarrass then-Republican Gov. John Engler, who was backing George W. Bush.”)

“It’s despicable what Santorum did,” State Rep. Gail Haines of Lake Angelus told us, “He knew very well that Democrats were not coming in because they liked him but they wanted to embarrass Mitt Romney.  By embracing that strategy, Santorum showed himself to be the fake Ron Paul says he is.  And this will follow him into the March 6 Super Tuesday races, you watch!”

Fellow State Rep. Sharon Tyler of Berrien told us “absolutely — yes — I’m disappointed” about Santorum’s embrace of the Democratic tactic and “for that, I would not follow him into the general election.”

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