Romney Wins Florida Republican Primary

Posted January 31st, 2012 at 10:05 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney received a boost in his bid for the Republican Party nomination with a solid win Tuesday in the Florida primary race.

In a victory speech , Romney criticized President Barack Obama and blamed him for the economic woes of the country. He promised to repeal the president's health care reform, balance the budget, and usher the country into a new era of economic prosperity.

“This campaign is about more than replacing a president. It's about saving the soul of America. President Obama and I have very different visions of America. President Obama wants to grow government and continue to amass trillion-dollar deficits. I will not just slow the growth of government. I will cut the spending of government. I will not just freeze government's share of the total economy. I will reduce it. And without raising taxes, I will finally get America to a balanced budget.”

The former Massachusetts governor won 47 percent of the Florida vote, far ahead of his closest rival, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who garnered 32 percent. The Florida Republican primary came a little more than a week after Romney was soundly defeated by Gingrich in South Carolina's primary.

Strong debate performances and heavy advertising that attacked Gingrich helped Romney win in Florida. In his speech, he told supporters he will change the direction of the country.

“If this election is a bidding war for who can promise the most goodies and the most benefits, then I'm not your president. You have that president today. But if you want to make this election about restoring American greatness, then I hope you'll join us. If you believe the disappointments of the last few years are a detour, and not our destiny, then I'm asking for your vote.”

But Gingrich, who trailed in the polls for months last year only to surge to a big win in South Carolina, has vowed that his campaign will not end. He said Florida has made it clear the race will be between a true conservative and a Massachusetts moderate. He told his supporters that the November election is the most important vote of their lives.

Florida is among the states with the largest number of delegates at stake, and the winner not only garners more delegate support for the Republican national convention later this year, but his campaign may draw in new backers in other states.

The delegates officially nominate the candidate to face Democrat Barack Obama in the November presidential election.

Former U.S. senator Rick Santorum and Texas Representative Ron Paul also were on the ballot in Florida, but they were far behind the front-runners.

During the Florida campaign, Gingrich lashed out at Romney, accusing him of being a liberal and running dishonest political ads. The former congressman said he expects a long campaign in the battle for the party nomination.

Romney has said that Gingrich was making excuses for his debate performances, and he criticized Gingrich for being found guilty of ethics violations that forced him to resign as House speaker.