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Florida Primary Open Thread; Update: Romney Wins

By Doug Powers  •  January 31, 2012 07:24 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

Fifty delegates are at stake in today’s winner-take-all Florida primary. The polls close at 8 p.m. EST. Let’s kick off an open thread for comments on the results as they come in. As of 9:15 p.m. with 78% of the precincts reporting, Romney is up on Gingrich 47% to 32% Santorum has 13%, Paul is at 7%, and in Palm Beach County I’m told there were three five accidental votes for Pat Buchanan.

CNN has an up-to-the-minute vote tally and county results here. No word yet on who’s ahead in the cracker counties.

We’ll have updates as soon as anything worth mentioning happens. Feel free to talk amongst yourselves!

Update: Networks saying they’ll be able to call it at 8 p.m. Romney it is.

Update II: CNN calls it for Romney. Ditto for Fox News.

Delegate count after tonight with 1144 needed: Romney-84, Gingrich-27, Santorum-10, Paul-8 (h/t Curtis Kalin). The WSJ has it slightly different but you get the gist.

A little near future speculation on the delegate front:

With Mitt Romney’s win in Florida tonight, he has won all of the state’s 50 delegates – although there is some chance the outcome could be disputed because Florida’s winner-take-all allocation is technically in violation of Republican party rules.

But assume that the outcome holds, and that Mr. Romney also wins Virginia on Mar. 6, where only he and Ron Paul are on the ballot. Virginia awards all of its delegates to the winner if he or she gets at least 50 percent of the vote. By definition, the winner in a two-way race will have at least 50 percent of the vote, and the winner is likely to be Mr. Romney in a head-to-head contest against Mr. Paul.

That would give Mr. Romney a total of 96 delegates between Florida and Virginia alone (Virginia has 49 delegates, but three of them are automatic delegates, often called super delegates). Although this represents only 8 percent of the delegates that Mr. Romney would eventually need to cinch the Republican race, it would nevertheless constitute a tangible advantage in the event of a close back-and-forth race against Mr. Gingrich.

A reporter caught up with Gingrich to ask if he still sees a path to the nomination. “Of course…” (h/t HAP):

Update III: Good news: Rick Santorum said his daughter is doing much better after being hospitalized with a serious condition.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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Categories: 2012 Campaign, Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Media