January 31st, 2012
01:27 AM ET

Will Florida determine a GOP front-runner?

After one month and three contests, it may be up to Florida to finally add some clarity to the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

With three different winners in the three contests so far, Florida could finally be the state to put one of the four remaining major GOP candidates firmly into the front-runner position.

At stake in Florida's Tuesday primary: 50 delegates, the largest haul so far in the primary and caucus calendar.

And the latest public opinion polls suggest that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will claim those delegates.

Five surveys of those likely to vote in the primary conducted between Saturday night and Monday afternoon all indicated that Romney held a double-digit lead over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, with former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas far behind.

"The GOP contest may end in Florida, but that doesn't mean it will be over," said Alex Castellanos, a GOP strategist and CNN contributor. "With a win, Romney puts the nomination firmly in his grip. But it appears Gingrich and Santorum will keep trying to rip it from his hand."

"Romney's relentless and disciplined effort should get more credit," added Castellanos, who was a top media adviser for Romney's 2008 nomination bid but who is not taking sides this cycle. "No long passes, just three yards a play and a cloud of dust. But with a win on Tuesday, he'll have gotten the nomination the old-fashioned way: He'll have earned it."

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Filed under: Florida • Politics • U.S.
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Clydster

    They heck with florida or any place where a bush lives. Well accept for my girl friend .

    January 31, 2012 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. gung hoe

    Are you sure about that

    January 31, 2012 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  3. Sharon Mcginty

    Don't you mean that Romney "bought" the nomination? How can you possibly say he earned it? He's sneaky, dishonest, outright lies without remorse, claims that everyone else does his dirty work. It's a sad day in America when the election goes to the person with the most money to put out untrue media. Romney could NEVER beat Obama. First, he's too much like him and secondly, the longer this goes, the more corrupt things we learn about Romney. Newt is the only answer to solving our problems and turning the economy around. Many GOP leaders need to wake up fast.

    January 31, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. johnny applesees

    Hope newt gingrich beats romney, it will make him cry cause he is a rich pansey that is out of touch with real people. Newt is out there but he came in secound with just his soapbox goin up against 17 million

    February 1, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Heh heh

    Hi everybody. Workin hard or hardly workin'. Heh heh.

    February 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |