Mitt Romney was announced the winner of Tuesday’s primary election in Florida. Coming back from a defeat in the South Carolina Republican Party Primary just 10 days earlier, the former Massachusetts governor won with nearly 47 percent of the vote. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich finished a distant second with 31 percent, followed by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in third and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas in fourth.
Romney’s victory rewarded him with Florida’s 50 delegates to the Republican National Convention, the most of any state thus far. According to preliminary exit polls, Floridian Republican voters were looking for the political candidate with the best chance at defeating current president Barack Obama.
During his victory speech in Tampa, Fla., Romney focused his remarks exclusively on Obama. He belittled the Obama Administration for its record on job creation, foreign policy as well as other pressing issues. “Mr. President, you were elected to lead, you chose to follow and now it’s time for you to get out of the way,” Romney said.
Until now, Gingrich has held a slight lead in most recent national polls, and this loss is not setting him back. According to the Huffington Post, Gingrich expects the GOP primary race to continue for the next six months.
With Florida’s 50 delegates, Romney will now have 87 delegates in comparison to Gingrich’s 26. A total of 1,144 delegates are needed to secure the Republican nomination.
As for Paul and Santorum, both plan to target the smaller caucus states and have been campaigning more in the West. Paul skipped Florida completely and has adopted the same strategy Obama used during the 2008 Democratic contest, gambling on the low-cost yet high-yield delegates.
As the 2012 election begins to take shape, the Republican Party is confident voters will look to elect a leader who will help the country regain economic stability. The candidates will head to Nevada next on Saturday in a caucus election.