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Posted on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 10:05 p.m.

Romney beats Santorum to win both Washtenaw County and Michigan

By Ryan J. Stanton


Ann Arbor resident Lizzie Shubin, a Ron Paul supporter, encourages passersby on Liberty Street in downtown Ann Arbor to vote on Tuesday. Paul trailed far behind Romney and Santorum.

Ryan J. Stanton |

It's being reported that Mitt Romney has won Michigan, and voters who went to the polls in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County had a hand in that victory.

With all precincts reporting, Romney pulled 42.2 percent of the vote in Washtenaw County, beating his closest rival, Rick Santorum.

Santorum received 37.1 percent of the local vote, followed by Ron Paul with 12.6 percent and Newt Gingrich with 5.4 percent.


Ypsilanti business owner Erik Nowakowski, a supporter of Ron Paul, stands in front of Liberty Plaza in downtown Ann Arbor, asking passersby if they've voted yet in the presidential primary on Tuesday.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The Detroit Free Press reported that with 87.6 percent of Michigan precincts counted, Romney led 41 percent to Santorum's 38 percent. Paul had 12 percent and Gingrich had 7 percent.

Romney did better locally than he did in 2008, when had 10,223 ballots cast in his favor in Washtenaw County, about 36.8 percent of the vote.

That was compared to John McCain's 33.5 percent, Mike Huckabee's 12.9 percent and Ron Paul's 8.1 percent.

There were 56,392 ballots cast in the January 2008 presidential primary in Washtenaw County, for a turnout of 22.6 percent. Nearly 28,600 — or 50.6 percent — of those were on the Democratic ticket.

With 35,040 ballots cast on Tuesday, total turnout in Washtenaw County was 13.3 percent.

Obama appeared alone on the Democratic ticket, which was a change from 2008 when he wasn't on the Michigan primary ballot at all. Obama, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden and John Edwards all withdrew from the the state's primary ballot four years ago following the state's breach of Democratic National Convention rules.

Hillary Clinton went on to win 43 percent of the vote in Washtenaw County in 2008, while 45.5 percent of Democrats cast ballots saying they were uncommitted.

Despite the lack of a contest on the Democratic ticket on Tuesday, with all precincts reporting, 4,651 votes were cast for Obama in Washtenaw County, compared with 12,611 for Romney and 11,097 for Santorum.

It's possible that a candidate who doesn't win the popular vote in Michigan could end up with more delegates by winning a majority of the state's 14 congressional districts.

Twenty-eight of Michigan's 30 delegates are to be doled out depending on the winner in each new congressional district, meaning Romney and Santorum could split much of the state.

County Clerk Larry Kestenbaum noted numerous jurisdictions and precincts straddle the new congressional lines, and someone, presumably a Republican Party official, is going to have to figure out a way to allocate those votes.

If the allocations affect the number of delegates won by candidates, Kestenbaum said expect controversy over those details — and potentially a black eye for Michigan.

Ann Arbor resident Lizzie Shubin, a Ron Paul supporter who tried to encourage passersby on Liberty Street to vote on Tuesday, predicted there'd be a low turnout.

"I would say that most people are not voting," she said. "People don't vote and it's sad because how else are you supposed to have your voice heard?"

"A lot of people just seem disenfranchised and don't care," agreed Erik Nowakowski, a small business owner in Ypsilanti who joined Shubin in trying to drum up support for Paul. "But it's encouraging — we've gotten a lot of waves and horn honks here."

Paul, who completed his medical residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit in 1962, has his Michigan campaign headquarters based on Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor.

Romney, a Michigan native who was counting on support from his home state, offered prepared remarks after his victory Tuesday in both the Michigan and Arizona primaries.

"Tonight is all the more special because we're celebrating in the state where I was born, surrounded by Michiganders we consider family," he said at a gathering in Novi.

"I have a plan that will restore America's promise through more jobs, less debt, and smaller government," Romney said. "President Obama is making the federal government bigger, burdensome, and bloated. I will make it simpler, smaller, and smarter."

A number of voters who went to the polls in Washtenaw County on Tuesday drew similarities between Romney and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and said that's why they're supporting him.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 1:04 p.m.

If Romney is such a great Michigan native he should live here and pay property taxes with the rest of us. Michigan native only to get your vote.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 4:55 p.m.

@hank, He was born and raised in Michigan. After graduating from high school he went off to college. What is YOUR definition of native?


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

The republicans will stoop to anything to win an election. They can't win on their own platform so they stoop to encouraging bottom of the barrel tricks. What a crew.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 4:40 p.m.

@hank, The democrats were out in full force with phone calls, emails, flyers, encouraging democrats to vote in the republican primary and to vote for Santorum because they felt Obama could beat Santorum in November. It blatantly shows that the democrats feel their candidate for November is weak.

Martin Church

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 6:24 p.m.

One thing I was surprised at was the lack of future office holders outside the ballot box collecting signatures or even our local city council outside asking us to vote for the increase taxes for the city of Ypsilanti in 60 days. except for the signs saying vote here I would never of know an election was taking place. No one outside with litature to hand out support a person or event. I suspect our election in May will also be low turn out.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 6:18 p.m.

Santorum could not get re-elected to the Senate - how do you expect him to get elected President? Vote for someone who can beat Obama. he even had dems voting for him. i guess we will have another election like last year. vote for the best of the worst.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 5:53 p.m.

I received a robocall, identifying itself as from the State Democratic Party, urging Democrats to vote in the Republican primary for Santorum, and assuring them that this would not disqualify them from voting in the Democratic caucus in May. I had read earlier about this tactic in the Washington Post. Such dirty tricks are an old Michigan tradition. Republican cross-overs once won the Democratic presidential primary for George Wallace. I deplore such games as contemptuous of the democratic process. Open primaries are a bad idea. Be careful what you wish for. Sure, Santorum would be a weaker candidate against Obama than Romney. But how would you feel if Santorum got the nomination and won?

joe golder

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 5 p.m.

Campaign in trouble, This is for all the marbles, Shame on the media!! Glad to hear the rumors of him being caught in an avalanche were just that "Rumors"!!


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 4:16 p.m.

Looks like you can write the obituary for the tea party in Michigan. The powers that be in the Republican party have decided to forsake the hard right for a more centrist candidate.

Tex Treeder

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

This article's headline "Romney beats Santorum to win both Washtenaw County and Michigan" misses the point. It's irrelevant which Republican gets more votes in the Republican primary. This state and county are almost certainly going to Obama in 2012.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

Fortunately the democrats ( led by Michael Moore) were not able to bring out enough of their voters to pull a win for Santorum in Michigan. The democrats know that Romney will beat Obama handily come this november. 53% of democrat voters, voted for Santorum and only 18% voted for Romney. Registered voters of either party should not be allowed to vote on the opposing ballots during primaries. Looking forward to the election in November so we can get Obama out of the White House and finally start to restore this economy. Go Green Go White


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 6:25 p.m.

Democrats know that Romney will beat Obama? What planet are you living on. The economy is finally slowing down from the steep drop of the Bush presidency and you want to send in the same party that caused the drop in the first place. That makes no sense.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

I agree with Stun. We need to clean up the White House and everyone else on the hill. Start spending responsibly. We are.

Jake C

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 2:16 p.m.

How do you propose we prevent Democrats from voting in a Republican Primary? Some kind of ideological purity test (maybe about your stance on abortion and taxes and immigration) before you're allowed to have a ballot? "In Massachusetts, if you register as an independent, you can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary," said Romney, who until he made an unsuccessful run for Senate in 1994 had spent his adult life as a registered independent. "When there was no real contest in the Republican primary, I'd vote in the Democrat primary, vote for the person who I thought would be the weakest opponent for the Republican."


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

"The economy has already begun to be restored. Unemployment is down and the Dow hit 13,000 yesterday. Where have you been?" Think of how much further ahead we'd be with a policies that actual help the economy and create jobs (and no BO does not get credit for temporarily "saved" state / local jobs due to massive stimulus hand outs that just delayed the inevitable and created nothing - except add'l debt to China)


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

The economy has already begun to be restored. Unemployment is down and the Dow hit 13,000 yesterday. Where have you been?

Usual Suspect

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

I agree. It will be nice to finally put an end to Amateur Hour.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

Looks like the Democratic tricksters failed to get out the vote for Santorum. This was reported nationally and makes them look like a bunch of losers who tried to skew the election in their favor. I applaud the Democrats who were able to resist this tactic considering the pressure of the robocalls from Santorum, Democratic talk show hosts, and printing the snarky op/ed piece from the guy encouraging them to drive the republicans "off a cliff". But the party has lost a lot of credibility in this independent voter's eyes.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

FYI---I received three phone calls from Santorum's organization, asking me to vote for Santorum in order to "send a message" to Romney. The calls all had a "paid for by R. Santorum" tag at the end. Needless to say, I wouldn't vote for anyone who'd stoop so low.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 6:23 p.m.

Democratic tricksters? This post makes me face palm harder than I could imagine. You applaud the 99.9% of Democrats who didn't vote for Santorum?

Nancy Shiffler

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

Maybe you missed the clip shown on The Daily Show of Mitt Romney bragging about how in Massachusetts he used to vote in Democratic primaries so he could vote against Ted Kennedy.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

I think this story is overblown. Exit polls say 9% of voters were Democrats, and some had legitimate races of their own to vote in (Pittsfield Twnshp had a cty commissioner race, I think). I was surprised by Santorum's robocalls. Since most Democrats (women and educated people of both genders for sure) would have to hold their noses to vote for him, it was a weird strategy for Santorum to adopt. Can it be he has a sense of humor?


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Aren't you the one that was just spinning the results (Romney BARELY beating crazy Rick) as being unduly influenced by Dems voting for Satantorum? Which is is?


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 12:08 p.m.

Romney has a plan for Michigan. More tax cuts for the wealthy 1%. Now how have the last 14 years of tax cuts for the wealthy been for you. Romney a Michigan native, is that why he has a home out east and another in Calf.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:31 p.m.

I always admired President Ford. He had a home here and one in CA. At least he was cleaner then the ones of today. May they rest in peace.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 6:17 a.m.

How does being born and raised in Michigan have anything to do with a person's ability to be President? When will voters dispense with the superficial and cast their ballots on the basis a character and abilities?


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:03 p.m.

justcurious and Usual Suspect: No idea of what "character" and "abilities" mean, eh?

Usual Suspect

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

It's about three years too late for that idea.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

Never. If they had done it this election they would have made sure that Ron Paul was the winner.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 5:51 a.m.

i dont like this grey area of awarding delegates.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 5:36 a.m.

The "allocation" that Larry Kestenbaum refers to the GOP method of allocating delegates based upon electoral results. In Michigan the statewide plurality is irrelevant in that delegates won are based upon the vote of each respective Congressional District not the statewide at-large vote. That is why Rick Santorum campaigned in the First Congressional District covering the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula since Ron Paul was popular in that district and he wanted to ensure Paul was defeated. Thus the vote of each Congressional District is the measure of winner and losers. Based upon Santorum swamping Romney in the heavily liberal Democratic precincts of Ann Arbor, it appears that they are heeding his call to vote for him over Romney. I just received an e-mail from a former state GOP chairman denouncing the Santorum tactic of recruiting Democrats to vote for him in today's primary.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 8:59 p.m.

I get a Santorum robocall, my eyes glazed over, I went to my voting place and I voted for Santorum, I didn't want to, but.. When I awoke outside the polling place, I realized what I had done, felt a second of shame and went on my way.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 4:41 p.m.

santorum recruiting democrats?? no way in hell... alot of democrats probably voted for him simply because he's the most beatable of a clownish slate, but actually following this fool's marching orders?? unthinkable for any one outside the far right of the of the teaparty ( or mel gibson's 'mishpukha")


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 5:07 a.m.

The lesser of two evils?

Homeland Conspiracy

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 5:09 p.m.

The lesser of two evils... is still evil


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 4 a.m.

"A lot of people just seem disenfranchised and don't care," agreed Erik Nowakowski... Gee, I wonder why. Could it be due to the perception that both state level and federal level politics is just a huge waste of hot air? Probably.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 6:34 p.m.

I'm with ya, Concerned Citizen, at least I keep trying. The political system we have makes it pretty darn hard, though, to keep up the optimism. What would help, which I think you're getting at, is if we could finally vote out the people who are just holding up the process with their extreme right/left (goes both ways) agenda, seeing as their plan is basically to filibuster anything that doesn't match what they think is right.

Concerned Citizen

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 4:03 p.m.

That perception is why our country is on the decline and our rights are being chipped away more and more each day. Look up H.R. 347. A successful republic depends on the population to elect ethical representatives, but people would rather watch TV or play video games, and by the time those are gone, it will be to late to do anything about it.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:29 p.m.

Santorum did not play a very nice game of politics and I for one did not vote for him because of all the calls I got in the last week. I got an email saying he did a lot of mud slinging. I hate to say it folks, but there are not a lot of great choices to vote on.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 3:24 a.m.

It is 2/28/12, 10:15 PM, NBC reports Romney wins Michigan. OK Democrat party operatives, time to go to Plan B.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 4:35 p.m.

A republican supporting Plan B?

Usual Suspect

Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

Registering NFL football teams to vote.