Mitt Romney wins Florida primary

Washington: Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has won the Republican primary in Florida, defeating Newt Gingrich. The victory has brought him closer to bagging the Republican nomination to challenge the incumbent, Barack Obama, in November presidential elections.

Gingrich, who created a major upset in the previous South Carolina, was polled over 4.25 lakh votes against Romney`s 6.3 lakh votes with more than two-thirds of the votes counted. As a result, the US media was quick to predict Romney as the winner of the Florida primary elections. Official results would take some time to come.

Emergence of Romney as the front runner in the race to take on Obama in November is mainly attributed to the avalanche of negative television and radio advertisement campaign against Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the US House of Representatives.

"Just 10 days after Gingrich handed Romney a drubbing in the South Carolina primary that had threatened to derail Romney`s campaign, Romney returned the favor in Florida, capturing the biggest prize yet in the Republican nominating contest," The Washington Post said.

"The commanding win by Romney offered a forceful response to the questions that were raised about his candidacy only 10 days ago after a stinging loss in the South Carolina primary to Gingrich," The New York Times said.

The Wall Street Journal said yesterday`s vote ended a nasty week of campaigning, with Romney and Gingrich trading harsh accusations in person and through millions of dollars in television ads.

The two top Republican candidates still have a long way to go before any of them bag the Republican presidential nomination. Rick Santorum, the former Senator from Pennsylvania, and Ron Paul, the Congressman from Texas, are the other two Republicans still in the race.

The Republican presidential campaign now moves to Nevada where the caucus is scheduled for February 4. However, March 6 is the most important date in this race when nearly a dozen States go to primary or caucuses. Gingrich on Tuesday said that he would continue his fight till the Republican Party Convention in Tampa, Florida in August later this year.