Mitt Romney wins 2012 Florida primary

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Romney in December 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore..

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won the Florida Republican Party presidential primary election on Tuesday with over 46 percent of the vote. Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich came in second with 32 percent. As a winner-takes-all state, Florida awarded all fifty of its delegates to Romney, pushing him ahead as the front-runner for the Republican Party nomination.

The win follows what The Wall Street Journal described as "one of the most acrimonious weeks in recent presidential campaign history." Gingrich briefly led the polls in Florida after his victory in the South Carolina primary on January 21, and attributed his fall to negative advertisements from the Romney campaign. Romney outspent Gingrich five-to-one on campaign advertisements in the state.

According to exit polls, Romney won the female vote by a large margin over Gingrich. He also edged him among the Tea Party and conservative voters, and tied him among evangelicals.

In his victory speech, Romney argued, "A competitive primary does not divide us. It prepares us. And we will win."

Gingrich disagreed, remarking, "It is now clear that this will be a two-person race between the conservative leader Newt Gingrich and the Massachusetts moderate...We are going to contest every place and we are going to win."

Former Senator Rick Santorum finished third with 13 percent, followed by Congressman Ron Paul with seven percent. Paul did not campaign extensively in Florida and is currently focusing his campaign on Nevada's February 4 Republican caucus, in which the party selects candidates for that state.

Romney, who now leads Gingrich 71 to 23 in delegates, plans to focus on both Nevada and Minnesota. Gingrich will also participate in Nevada, but hopes to keep his campaign alive with victories in the southern states of Georgia, Tennessee and Texas.

Results

Candidate Votes Percentage Delegates Results by County
Mitt Romney 775,023 46.42% 50
Image: Gage Skidmore.

██ Mitt Romney

██ Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich 533,097 31.93% -
Rick Santorum 222,790 13.34% -
Ron Paul 117,100 7.01% -
Rick Perry* 6,768 0.41% -
Jon Huntsman, Jr. 6,199 0.37% -
Michele Bachmann 3,962 0.24% -
Herman Cain 3,494 0.21% -
Gary Johnson 1,196 0.07% -


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