Romney fights to avoid home-state embarrassment -

Romney fights to avoid home-state embarrassment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- Mitt Romney is fighting to avoid an embarrassing home-state loss in a high-stakes Michigan primary that won't decide the Republican presidential contest but could scar the former Massachusetts governor just a week before Super Tuesday.

Rival Rick Santorum is calling upon an unusual coalition of tea party activists, religious conservatives and Democrats to help topple Romney and reclaim the momentum in the increasingly heated nomination battle.

Santorum confirmed on the eve of the election that he had targeted Michigan Democrats with automated phone calls encouraging them to vote against Romney.

Party rules in Michigan allow voters to temporarily change their affiliation on the spot. The potential involvement of Democrats adds a new twist to a contest already expected to have significant implications for Romney's White House bid.

AP-WF-02-28-12 0753GMT

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