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January 26, 2012

Why Florida is Make-or-Break Moment for Republicans

Amy Walter points out that a win by Newt Gingrich in Florida would all but guarantee a long, drawn-out contest.

"It will legitimize Gingrich as a serious contender (not just a guy who got lucky in South Carolina). It will lead to lots of hand-wringing by GOP leaders. The cable chatterers will be in full-blown bloviate mode about the state of the dysfunction in the Republican Party. A Romney win doesn't guarantee a quick end to the contest, but it would slow Gingrich's momentum. Other factors that could dampen Newt-mentum include the fact that there's just one debate scheduled for the entire month of February and that there are only caucuses, not primaries, for most of that month. Rick Santorum and Ron Paul have all but conceded the state to the two frontrunners. Florida is a winner-take-all contest, which means all 50 delegates go to the top vote-getter. There's no incentive to try and battle for third or fourth place. And while both remain committed to staying in the race, it's clear that, for now, the battle for the nomination is a two-man race between Gingrich and Romney."

First Read: "Just how important is Florida to both the Romney and Gingrich candidacies? Romney and Gingrich allies are spending more than $20 million between them to try and win it and possibly put away the GOP nominating fight."


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