February 1, 2012
TAMPA — Bolstered by superior resources and a relentlessly aggressive style, Mitt Romneywon a decisive victory in the Florida primary Tuesday night, dealing a major setback to principal rival Newt Gingrich while putting himself back into a commanding position in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
Romney’s win came after a bitter and almost wholly negative campaign by both leading candidates. The victory, his second of the year to go along with two defeats, gives the former Massachusetts governor much-needed momentum as the GOP contest moves west for Saturday’s Nevada caucuses. Romney is strongly favored to repeat his 2008 victory there.
Romney, whose defeat in Florida four years ago effectively ended his hopes of winning the nomination, attracted solid support across the Sunshine State and among key groups this time as he rebounded from a stinging double-digit loss to Gingrich in South Carolina 10 days before.