Well, despite his critics, Mitt Romney has won Florida’s GOP primary by wide margin against runner-up Newt Gingrich. This just following Newt’s Victory in South Carolina.
For both candidates it was an especially important primary after the South Carolina upset. Romney needed to show that he could regain momentum after the loss of Iowa and South Carolina. Newt needed to show he could steadily win primaries, especially in a relatively moderate state like Florida.
But why did Romney win? Well, first of all, the Romney campaign has boatloads of cash to spend, allowing him to maximize his full potential through ads. Secondly Romney pulled a Gingrich. What’s that? As you might recall Gingrich, was asked, in one of the CNN debates just before the Primary in South Carolina, to clarify the confusion between his first ex-wife’s children and his second ex-wife, or was it the other way around? Confusing. I still don’t understand but when asked, Gingrich retorted defensively, seemingly scandalized that the moderators dare bring the topic up, and stressing his belief that it was irrelevant in the real election. That burst of self righteousness brought up his numbers in South Carolina.
With only a few days till Florida, the two sparred again in another debate. A few minutes in, the candidates started to attack each other. Gingrich calling Romney “anti-immigrant,” Romney matching Gingrich’s earlier defensiveness by feigning disdain that Newt would declare him anti-immigration, as Mitt’s grandfather was born in Mexico.
But why would Romney’s statement bring him up? First of all Florida has a 22% Hispanic population, and immigration is very important to that community. With Romney’s sudden burst of passion he convinced many for a moment that he was for immigrants. Secondly, it cast Gingrich in a negative light just as Gingrich had done to CNN. Karma anyone?
Possibly, but aside from Romney’s episode on the debate, Romney’s position as a moderate makes him much more desirable to the moderate populace of Florida than a fundamentalist such as Newt. Romney especially appealed to the urban centers of the Sunshine State. If one looks at Florida’s map, Romney won Tallahassee, Miami and Orlando, while Newt only won the inland back-country districts, giving Romney a huge advantage over Newt in terms of votes.
Gingrich he may have lost some momentum in Florida but Nevada is just around the corner. He will defiantly have another chance to prove himself. For Romney he showed his supporters that even though Gingrich won South Carolina (the place that has chosen every single GOP nominee since 1980) he can still win by big and wide margins. In the end, the road to the nomination still remains very rocky and unstable, with plenty of surprises still to come.