(CNSNews.com) - The chairman of the Michigan Democratic Committee has urged the party faithful not to vote in the February 22nd Republican presidential primary.
"It's a violation of our rules for someone to vote in the Republican Primary and then vote in the Democratic caucus," said Mark Brewer. The Democrats caucus will be held on March 11th.
Brewer warned party members who do vote in the Republican Primary that they could be challenged when they show up to vote at a caucus.
According to Brewer, Democrats will be playing into the hands of Michigan Governor John Engler should they vote Republican.
"It's interesting to see how John Engler's trying to find an alibi for why his candidate isn't going to do well. He's beginning to point fingers and say it's the Democrat's fault or it's somebody else's fault, if he, Bush, doesn't win."
Engler has thrown the full resources of his political machine behind Bush. Meanwhile, polls show Bush and McCain running neck-and-neck in the state.
All registered voters can cast ballots in the February 22nd race that comes just three days after the South Carolina primary. Most political observers believe a strong showing by McCain in the Palmetto State could influence the Michigan vote and lead Democrats and Independents to cast ballots for the Arizona senator.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Bush accused Democrats of jumping on the McCain bandwagon because they hope to nominate "the easier candidate to beat in the fall."
For his part, McCain characterized the Bush assertion as one that "flies in the face of the facts," and pointed to the number of Republicans and Independents who supported him in the February 1st New Hampshire primary that led to his 19-point victory. In that race, McCain defeated Bush among traditional Republicans by a margin of 10 percent.
Bush's criticism comes on the heel of polls that show the two candidates are locked in a statistical dead heat in Saturday's South Carolina primary contest. Other polls show McCain leading Bush in Michigan and in his home state of Arizona.
"What bothers me is that Democrats come in and nominate the easier candidate to beat in the fall," Bush said Sunday. "What I'm worried about is Democrats deciding who the Republican nominee is going to be."