GOP hopeful Mitt Romney might not be able to bank on the candidacy yet, but he can certainly pat himself on the back after his success in Florida on Jan. 31. Romney knocked the race out of the water, gaining 46.4% of the votes. Gingrich came in fairly close, taking home 31.9%. Santorum gathered up 13.3%, and Paul took home 7%, leaving 1.3% to write in candidates.
Florida’s primary is only open to registered republicans-if you were not pre-registered with the Republican Party you were ineligible to vote in the primary election. Ralph Reed, head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a conservative Christian political organization told the Washington Post “Florida is a big and diverse state that will be a crucial state in the fall. This is an important win for Romney. But given all the ups and downs we’ve had, I don’t think you can call this for Romney just yet.”
Florida is one of the first states to host a primary, however, and there are a lot of opportunities for one of the other candidates to pull ahead of Romney. Although Rick Santorum and Ron Paul are still hard at work in the race, the two top names are Romney and Gingrich. Gingrich won in South Carolina, causing more tension between the two men. Gingrich is known for having a temper, and Romney used that to his advantage to slowly pick at Newt, even calling him Dr. Newt and Mr. Hyde at one point.
It’s not completely smooth sailing for Romney either. Romney stated he was not concerned about the very poor because they have an ample safety net. According to South Carolina’s The State, Romney told CNN “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich. They’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”
All of his opponents jumped at the opportunity to attack him over the remark. He attempted to defend himself by explaining “My energy is going to be devoted to helping middle-income people,” according to The State. Gingrich took the opportunity at an event he hosted to say “I am running to be the president of all the American people and I am concerned about all the American people.” President Obama’s campaign manager also fired back, tweeting “So much for ‘we’re all in this together,'”
Be sure to check back in over the weekend. Donald Trump is expected to make an announcement on Feb 2 (many suspect it’s to declare support for Newt Gingrich) and all of the candidates will be pulling to come out first in the Nevada caucus on February 4.