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romney in florida Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets members of the audience at a campaign rally in Dunedin, Florida, on January 30. (Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Election 2012: Florida Heads to the Polls

Romney rallies to become favorite to win Sunshine Sate

By Shelby Fallin | null null , null

Voters in Florida head to the polls today to cast their votes in the Republican primary.

After two debates, dozens of campaign events and rallies, and a lot of negative ads, voters in Florida finally have the chance to have their voices heard.

The Florida primary is today, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is the early favorite to win the contest. Many voters in the state feel that Romney has the best chance to defeat President Barack Obama in the general election this fall. That has given Romney the edge in the race.

But this wasn't true immediately after the South Carolina primary.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich won that election. Heading into Florida, Gingrich had a lot of momentum. But his performances in two Florida debates had Floridians looking again at Romney.

Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are the other major Republican candidates.

All of the candidates spent time campaigning in Florida's biggest cities, such as Tampa, Miami, and Jacksonville. Florida is considered a swing state in the 2012 election. This means there are a lot of independent and undecided voters in the state and it could be won by either the Republican or Democratic nominee.

But Paul and Santorum didn't spend as much time as Romney and Gingrich in Florida. Paul focused his attention on Maine, Colorado, and Nevada. Santorum, meanwhile, geared up for Super Tuesday on March 6. Super Tuesday is when 11 states hold their primaries.

Even Gingrich scaled back some of his campaigning in the state.

Last weekend, Gingrich canceled a visit to Lakeland in a move some analysts saw as risky. Lakeland sits in what is called the I-4 corridor. This is the middle part, which is home to some of Florida's most populated cities.

Did Gingrich's canceled visit cost votes among the states undecided voters? Will a Romney victory breathe new life into his campaign? The state — and the country — will find out tonight as the results come in.

Stay tuned to the Kids Press Corps and Scholastic News Online for the latest from Florida and the rest of the campaign trail!


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About the Author

Shelby Fallin is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

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