Sunday, January 29, 2012
Romney Expected to win 2012 Florida Republican Primary
With three primaries going in the way of three candidates, the Republican presidential candidacy race became quite interesting after the South Carolina primary. South Carolina has been a winning ground for the republicans in their inter-party contests. From 1980, those who won its primary eventually became the presidential candidates from the party.
After the surprising landslide victory of Newt Gingrich at South Carolina, the race has come down to a contest between Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and Gingrich. Gingrich’s comeback was a big surprise as he had been a total outsider in both Iowa and Rick Santorum, the winner at Iowa primary is trailing at third place and Ron Paul is far behind. He has not campaigned in the Southern state of Florida.
Romney has comeback from the defeat in South Carolina and leads Florida, with opinion polls showing that he may get over 40% of the votes in the January 31 primary. Gingrich is about 10% behind him. Romney’s attacks on Gingrich’s past ethical record have hit the latter hard, as these early opinion polls show.
A victory in Florida, which is a 50 delegate ‘winner takes all’ state, would bolster the presidential hopes of Mitt Romney. With a clear possibility of challenging President Barack Obama in the coming November, the Republicans would have to pick the best possible candidate. With his past record, Gingrich may not be the best candidate for many Republicans.
However, it is still early to call an end to the race. The primaries of the home states of the four leading candidates are still far away. Both the current leaders, Romney and Gingrich will be facing the primaries of their home states, Massachusetts and Georgia respectively, on March 6, 2012. Ron Paul’s home state, Texas, will hold its primary on April 3, and with 155 delegates, he can hope for a boost to his candidacy. So can Santorum in Pennsylvania, which selects 72 delegates. The only fear the latter two candidates can have is that they may be eclipsed by the two leaders by the time they battle in their strongholds. Santorum will hope to divert the conservatives from Gingrich towards him by projecting himself as a better suited candidate than the Georgian. He seems to be doing it in a very small scale in Florida, as many Republican stalwarts themselves do not look forward to a Newt Gingrich candidacy.
Another important fact has been the debate between the two leaders which has to a considerable extent discredited both and given ammunition to others including Barack Obama. In the long run, this may be an opening a third candidate can exploit and take back the presidential nomination. While Ron Paul may be a long shot, Santorum might be not. Indeed, there is a long way to go to the Republican primaries to end.
Image: Florida map with county names and boundaries, from Wikimedia Commons