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Mitt Romney wins Florida GOP primary

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 31: Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney works the phones for votes at his campaign headquarters on January 31, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Romney has a double-digit lead going into the Florida primar
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 31: Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney works the phones for votes at his campaign headquarters on January 31, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Romney has a double-digit lead going into the Florida primar
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

(1/31/2012) FT. LAUDERDALE - Mitt Romney was chosen by Florida Republicans Tuesday as their choice for the GOP Presidential candidate, taking all 50 state delegates, having gained 47.21% of the vote statewide (617,516 votes) as of 8:15pm. In Broward County, a Democratic stronghold, Romney earned 50.34%.

Romney's closest challenger, Newt Gingrich, placed second and took 31.4% (436,407 votes). Rick Santorum and Ron Paul each gained 13.15% (178,614 votes) and 6.86% (93,207 votes) respectively.

In Broward County, Gingrich ended the night with 29.99%, Santorum had 11.10%, and Ron Paul earned 6.59%. In an impressive showing, Ron Paul doubled his statewide support from 2008, when he garnered approximately 3% of the statewide vote.

Although most of the polling data suggested such an outcome, Gingrich's South Carolina win gave him significant momentum, which seemed to fade away with each passing day. Newt 2012 rallies throughout the state attracted only a few hundred supporters each, compared to much larger crowds for Romney. Santorum had left Florida by Monday, and Ron Paul did not campaign in Florida at all.

The candidates next move on to Nevada and Maine, both of which will start their caucus on February 4th, followed by Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota on February 7.

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