Election 2012: Romney Wins Again
Overwhelming victory in Florida solidifies frontrunner status
Florida voters headed to the polls to vote in the state's Republican presidential primary on Tuesday. They overwhelmingly supported Mitt Romney.
Romney led the field with 46 percent of the vote. Newt Gingrich finished second with 31 percent of the vote, followed by Rick Santorum and Ron Paul.
The victory gives momentum to Romney's campaign. He won the New Hampshire primary, but was then defeated in South Carolina by Gingrich. This set the stage for a heated battle in Florida, which is considered to be 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.
The 10-day campaign in Florida was a nasty one. Romney and Gingrich accused each other of not being the right man to challenge President Barack Obama in the general election. At the same time, special interest groups called super PACs (political action committees) flooded the Florida airwaves with negative ads. A super PAC is not affiliated with an individual campaign. Instead, it is an outside supporter of a candidate that buys advertising to help who it supports.
In his victory speech, Romney said the tough campaign in Florida was good for Republicans.
"A competitive primary does not divide us," he told his supporters. "When we gather here seven months from now for our convention, ours will be a united party with a winning ticket for America."
"My leadership will end the Obama era and begin a new era of American prosperity," Romney added.
Romney saw his victory as the beginning of a unified party. Gingrich had a different opinion.
According to exit polls, conservative voters said they supported Gingrich. He told his supporters in Florida that this showed he had enough backing to keep challenging Romney.
The crowd at his primary night event held signs that read "46 States to Go."
"We are going to contest every state, and we are going to win and we will be the nominee in August at the Republican National Convention," Gingrich said.
The candidates now turn their attention to the next states with elections. Maine and Nevada hold their caucuses on February 4, and Colorado and Minnesota caucus on February 7.
But the next big test is Super Tuesday. On March 6, 11 states hold primaries and caucuses. Whoever wins the most states on Super Tuesday is likely to make it to the convention as the Republican nominee.
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Shelby Fallin is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.