Romney and Paul allege 'dirty tricks' by Santorum supporters

Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks as his wife Karen, right, listens during a primary night watch party Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, in St. Charles, Mo. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Santorum makes comeback in three states
Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks as his wife Karen, right, listens during a primary night watch party Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, in St. Charles, Mo.
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

The campaigns of Mitt Romney and Ron Paul have filed a complaint alleging "serious and prejudicial misconduct" by supporters of rival Rick Santorum at the March 17 Missouri caucus that they say amounted to "voter suppression."

The complaint, filed with the state Republican party and several caucus officials and dated Monday, demands that the state party refuse to recognize the delegates from Jefferson County, where the campaigns say the improprieties took place.

At that caucus site, the complaint says, Santorum supporters deliberately delayed the proceedings when they realized they were outnumbered by a combination of Romney and Paul supporters. After the Romney and Paul voters left in frustration, the proceedings were allowed to resume, and by that time, Santorum voters had the majority, the complaint says.

Complete coverage: Election 2012

Ryan Williams, a Romney spokesman said, "Facing a likely defeat, Senator Santorum's supporters used dirty political tricks to marginalize conservative activists and suppress votes in order to elect their delegates. The serious misconduct committed by Sen. Santorum's cronies is appalling, and should be denounced by every candidate in this race."

The Romney and Paul campaigns are demanding that the delegates selected at the Jefferson County site be barred from participating at congressional and state party conventions in April and June, when the selection of actual delegates bound to specific candidates takes place.

The county selected 72 delegates to take part in the April and May conventions. Of those, Santorum got 65, Romney got seven. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich got no delegates.

  • Sarah B. Boxer On Twitter»

    Sarah B. Boxer covers politics for CBS News.

Comments