Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took one step closer to the GOP nomination by winning the Florida primary and winning the state’s 50 winner-take-all delegates. The Associated Press called the primary for Romney.
After losing South Carolina’s “first-in-the-South” primary Jan. 21, Romney used his organizational head start in Florida — and poured in more resources of his own — and tactical changes he made on the fly to defeat Gingrich.
Romney — and outside groups that supported him — bombarded the Florida’s airwaves, in English and Spanish, with ads that highlighted Gingrich’s ties to Freddie Mac. Romney’s surrogates went to many of Gingrich’s events, ensuring that Romney was able to rebut what would have otherwise been favorable press of Gingrich.
Gingrich has states favorable to him — most notably in the South — in the primaries ahead, but those primaries — on Super Tuesday, March 6 and March 13 — are more than a month away. In the meantime, Gingrich will have to gather more resources and try to figure out how he can remain in the national conversation, because the primaries and caucuses prior to Super Tuesday, such as in Nevada and Minnesota, favor Romney and will only help him build momentum.
Nevada caucuses this Saturday, and Romney is a heavy favorite to win, ensuring that he will get more buzz and free media.
Gingrich’s best hope may be if Santorum drops out of the race before Super Tuesday, allowing Gingrich to consolidate the anti-Romney delegates. Because states must allocate delegates proportionally before April, it is still nearly mathematically impossible for Romney to win the nomination before then.
Gingrich, this weekend, vowed he would go all the way to the Republican convention.
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