Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney coasted to a first-place victory in Florida’s primary Tuesday, laying claim to all of the state’s 50 delegates in the winner-take-all contest.
In his victory speech, Romney rejected the argument that a competitive race weakens the Republican party. “A competitive primary does not divide us, it prepares us,” he said, speaking from a rally at the convention center in Tampa, Fla.
He took aim at President Obama throughout his speech, using language more akin to a general election race than a primary contest.
“You were elected to lead, you chose to follow, and now it’s time to get out of the way,” Romney said about Obama, referencing the Thomas Paine quote: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”
Newt Gingrich finished in second and former Rick Santorum in third. Ron Paul came in fourth place. (Both Paul and Santorum held election night events in Las Vegas, where voters will participate in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday.)
Results stood at 47 percent for Romney, 32 percent for Gingrich, 13 percent for Santorum and 7 percent for Paul with 94 percent of precincts reporting. Romney may win more votes than Gingrich and Santorum combined.
More than half of Tuesday’s votes were cast prior to primary day via early voting methods.
Gingrich claimed Tuesday’s results solidified the 2012 primary as a “two-man race” between a “conservative leader” and a “Massachusetts moderate.” He vowed to remain in the race for the duration.
Source: Yahoo News | Rachel Rose Hartman