Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mitt Romney Florida Victory Could Deal Mortal Blow to Once-Resurgent Newt Gingrich

I wouldn't count out Gingrich just yet, but the momentum is back with Romney in a big way tonight.

At the Los Angeles Times, "Mitt Romney wins Florida GOP primary":

Reporting from Tampa, Fla. — Mitt Romney won the Florida presidential primary Tuesday, taking a long stride toward capturing the GOP nomination and dealing a potentially mortal blow to the hopes of the once-resurgent Newt Gingrich.

The television networks called the race for the Massachusetts governor soon after polls in the westernmost part of the state closed; by that time Romney already held a big lead in the votes already tabulated. The result ended what had become a suspenseless campaign over the last few days, as multiple opinion surveys showed Romney opening a commanding lead.

His victory handed Romney Florida's 50 delegates, the biggest cache yet, but more than that the win shows his ability to capture support in a big, costly and diverse state that will be a major battleground in the fall contest against President Obama.

Speaking to reporters before the polls closed, Romney said he learned a lesson from the double-digit loss he suffered at Gingrich's hands 10 days ago in South Carolina.

“If we’re successful here, it’ll be pretty clear that when attacked you have to respond and you can’t let charges go unanswered,” Romney said after visiting campaign volunteers at a Tampa phone bank. “I needed to make sure that instead of being outgunned in terms of attacks that I responded aggressively. I think I have and hopefully that will serve me well here.”

Also at the New York Times, "Romney Wins Big in Florida Primary," and the Washington Post, "Romney claims decisive victory in Florida." (Via Memorandum.)

More Florida blogging throughout the evening...