Mitt Romney wins in the Sunshine State. We’ll break down the primary results and ask – what’s next for the GOP?
They fought and punched and sniped in Florida. Hammered each other all over the state and the airwaves. A many-million-dollar carpet bombing of negative ads. And Mitt Romney won. By a big margin.
He is once again, well and truly, the front-runner in the GOP primary contest. The man with the money, and the victory in Florida. But Newt Gingrich is digging in, he says, for the long haul. Angry, and channeling anger. Slugging against the “elites,” he says, including his own party’s.
This hour, On Point: After Florida. Romney, Gingrich, and the country.
Karen Tumulty, national political reporter for the Washington Post.
Kim Alfano, Republican strategist and president and CEO of Alfano Communications.
Rep. Michael Burgess, represents the 26th Texas congressional district.
The vote in Florida was “the best reflection to date of where the Republican Party stands,” said Washington Post national political reporter Karen Tumulty, noting that the primary is restricted to Republicans, rather than the open contests in other states. “The race itself is going to go on for another month, but after last night it is getting harder and harder to see where Newt Gingrich’s opening.”
The GOP primary has been fierce and looks to continue for weeks, despite a sense of momentum gathering around Romney. “There’s a visceral hatred for President Obama,” said Republican strategist Kim Alfano. The one quality that GOP voters are looking for above all else, she said, is the ability to win in the general election.
Conservatives will rally to Romney as the primaries continue even though they are wary of his candidacy, Alfano said, noting that the process itself had made Romney a better campaigner.
Yet despite all this talk about conservative angst, though I think it is real, Romney is right where he wants to be, said Scott Helman, Boston Globe reporter and co-author of “The Real Romney.”
But Romney still faces challenges, especially if he is chosen to face the president in the general election.
His wealth is a key issue. “He has to find a way to talk about his wealth and success without turning people off,” said Helman. “There is no one who better represents the one-percent than Mitt Romney.”
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Washington Post “Mitt Romney’s across-the-board victory in the Florida Republican presidential primary on Tuesday night serves as a direct rebuttal to the criticism that he simply isn’t conservative enough to be the party’s nominee and leaves his remaining rivals with few obvious next steps as the nomination fight moves to Nevada next month.”
Miami Herald “At Miami Fire Station No. 7, Lesmus Ruiz was the first to show up. The 71-year-old Republican salesman said he voted for Gingrich “because he’s the only one that can debate this president right now.”
Politico “After a 10-day, post-South Carolina slog characterized by relentless attacks on Newt Gingrich from Mitt Romney’s forces, Florida on Tuesday will vote in its 2012 Republican presidential primary.”