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Santorum Camp Declares Michigan a Tie, Denies Liberal Mischief

Jay LaPrete/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Despite Mitt Romney’s win in the popular vote, Rick Santorum’s campaign has declared Michigan a tie.

The two candidates will likely win the same number of delegates from Michigan, Santorum’s campaign asserted on a conference call with reporters Wednesday, citing official county-by-county results, Michigan newspaper reports, and “anecdotal evidence.”

“The only thing you could do is move this from a win column for Mitt Romney to a tie,” Santorum senior strategist John Brabender said on the conference call. “This is not a win for Mitt Romney. It is a tie for Mitt Romney in his home state.”

Romney collected 42 percent of the vote in Michigan on Tuesday, besting Santorum’s 37 percent.

Both Santorum and Romney will pick up 15 of Michigan’s 30 delegates, Brabender said. Official delegate results have not yet been released by the Michigan Republican Party.

Michigan distributes delegates by congressional district. A candidate wins two delegates by winning the total vote in any one of the state’s newly drawn 14 congressional districts. Two more delegates are divided up proportionally between the top two statewide finishers. Santorum and Romney will each receive one.

Santorum’s campaign said each candidate will end up winning seven congressional districts.

With 99 percent of Michigan’s precincts reporting to the Michigan Department of State, which handles the statewide vote counting, it’s now up to the state party to determine who won each congressional district. County-by-county results are publicly available, but the gerrymandered legislative districts straddle county lines, making for a more complicated counting process.

“Despite outspending us by a great amount of money, despite this being Mitt Romney’s home turf, his home state, if you will … this can only be seen as a disaster for Mitt Romney,” Brabender said.

The Santorum campaign denied it had any knowledge of assistance from liberal Democrats, while asserting that its outreach to Democrats helped Santorum.

Liberals in Michigan and at the blog Daily Kos had encouraged Michigan Democrats to vote for Santorum in the state’s open primary, in an attempt to embarrass Mitt Romney by delivering a loss in the state where he was born and raised. After reports of crossover organization, the campaign began running a robocall encouraging Michigan Democrats to vote for Santorum, calling it an effort to court conservative, so-called “Reagan Democrats” that Santorum has talked about wooing since the beginning of his presidential bid.

“Is it possible that there are Democrats who are liberal-leaning Democrats who just don’t like Mitt Romney? Absolutely,” Brabender said. “But I can also tell you there are a lot of conservative Democrats that don’t like Mitt Romney, and those are the ones we went out and courted.”

Brabender said the investment in Democrat-wooing robocalls was minimal. “This was no more than a couple thousand dollars we spent trying to reach those Reagan Democrats,” Brabender said.

Democratic votes did help Santorum reach this apparent delegate tie, and the Romney campaign on Wednesday insinuated that Santorum’s support from Democrats taint his showing in Michigan. According to exit polls, nine percent of Michigan’s GOP primary voters self-identified as Democrats; 53 percent of them voted for Santorum, while 18 percent voted for Romney. Of Santorum’s total vote in Michigan, 13 percent came from self-identified Democrats.

The Santorum campaign said it was pleased with those results.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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