Mitt Romney’s vaunted organization nearly failed him in Illinois, where he only remained eligible for delegates on the ballot after a negotiated truce between his campaign and Rick Santorum’s people.
The problems stem from the campaign relying on Illinois state Treasurer Dan Rutherford. He struggled to acquire enough signatures to qualify for Romney’s delegates and then had the statement of candidacy notarized out of state, a violation of state election rules.
Once the Romney campaign challenged Santorum’s petitions, the Santorum campaign counter-challenged, pointing out the “fatal error” of the Romney petitions being notarized in Massachusetts instead of Illinois, said Santorum’s Illinois state director, Jon Zahm.
“It’s a pretty serious mistake and I filed that challenge and they eventually asked me to withdraw my challenge in exchange for them withdrawing theirs,” Zahm said. “It was all a big waste of people’s time and money. But I didn’t use a law firm like they did, I did it on my own.”
Rutherford, who is widely expected to have ambitions to run for governor in 2014, then urged Romney’s Boston headquarters to withdraw the challenge to Santorum’s petitions, a request the campaign granted as part of what one Romney adviser called “home rule.”