Romney Wins Florida Republican Primary

Posted January 31st, 2012 at 8:10 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney got a boost for his bid for the Republican Party nomination with a solid win in the Florida (state)) primary race.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, won 47 percent of the vote, far ahead of his closest rival, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who garnered 31 percent. The Florida Republican primary election came just over a week after Romney was soundly defeated by Gingrich in the South Carolina primary.

After often bitter campaigning, Republican voters went to the polls Tuesday in the southeastern U.S. state.

But strong debate performances and heavy advertising that attacked Gingrich helped Romney surge in the polls. Recent opinion polls had showed Romney with a double-digit lead over Gingrich in Florida.

“Speaker Gingrich, he's not feeling very excited these days. I know. It's sad. He's been flailing around a bit.”

But Gingrich, who trailed in the polls for months last year, only to surge to a big win in South Carolina, vowed that his campaign will not end.

“We're just getting started.”

Florida is one of 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 were also on the ballot in Florida, although 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.