2012 Florida Republican presidential primary

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50 delegates to the Republican National Convention
Mitt Romney by Gage Skidmore 6 cropped (cropped).jpg
Newt Gingrich by Gage Skidmore 6 (cropped).jpg
Candidate Mitt Romney Newt Gingrich
Home state Massachusetts Georgia
Delegate count 50 0
Popular vote 776,159 534,121
Percentage 46.40% 31.93%

Rick Santorum by Gage Skidmore 2 (1).jpg
Ron Paul (6238703989) (cropped).jpg
Candidate Rick Santorum Ron Paul
Home state Pennsylvania Texas
Delegate count 0 0
Popular vote 223,249 117,461
Percentage 13.35% 7.02%

Florida Republican Presidential Primary Election Results by County, 2012.svg
Results by county. Orange indicates counties won by Romney, and purple, those won by Gingrich.

The 2012 Florida Republican presidential primary was held on January 31, 2012.[1] Fifty delegates were at stake, none of them RNC (or super) delegates; it is unclear whether these delegates will be allocated proportionally or winner-take-all. Originally awarded 99 delegates,[1] the Republican National Committee removed half of Florida's delegates because the state committee moved its Republican primary before March 6;[2] the Republican National Committee rules also set the delegate allocation to be proportional because the contest was held before April 1.[3] It is a closed primary.[1] There were 4,063,853 registered Republican voters as of January 3, 2012.[4]

Florida is spread over two time zones, so voting wasn't completed until 7 pm CST/8pm EST.[5]


Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the first three contests in the primary election cycle to eventually determine a parties' nominee, are often the most politically significant states due to the bandwagon effect. The candidates themselves, their infrastructure and the national media are entrenched in these states and therefore these early states (particularly Iowa and New Hampshire) receive more media and political attention than any other state.[6] Often the candidate with the most momentum from the first three states will become the party nominee. The 2008 GOP Presidential nominee John McCain won New Hampshire and South Carolina. In 2000, George W. Bush won Iowa and South Carolina, and became the party nominee.

In the 2012 primary race, a division formed in the Republican Party between the moderate frontrunner, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, and conservatives who distrusted Romney's perceived liberal tendencies while governor of Massachusetts.[7] Romney was criticised, among other things, for signing into law the Massachusetts health reform law, which resembled President Barack Obama's Affordable Health Care for America Act. Many in the conservative faction of the Republican Party searched for an alternative.[8]

Iowa was won by former senator Rick Santorum after the votes were certified. New Hampshire was won by Mitt Romney. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won South Carolina. This is the first time the first three states have been won by three different candidates.[9]


In an effort to increase the political importance of their state's primary and receive added media exposure often directed to the early contests, Florida decided to plan their primary ahead of the early contests, a move that violated Republican Party rules and forced early states to move up their contests.[10] Florida announced that their primary would occur on January 31 instead of the expected March; Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina were expected to have their primaries in February but were forced to push their primaries into January, thereby shortening the overall amount of time that each person could campaign. Florida made this move in 2008.

As a result of this calendar violation, Florida was stripped of half of its delegates, awarding only 50 delegates instead of the original 100 delegates.

Dean Cannon, the Republican speaker of the Florida House of Representatives: "My goal all along is for Florida to preserve her place as the fifth spot on the nominating calendar and not to move ahead of Iowa and New Hampshire."[11]


Main article: Statewide opinion polling for the Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2012 § Florida (January 31)


Results with 100.0% (6,796 of 6,796 Precincts)[12] reporting:[5]

Turnout was 41.16% of the voting-eligible population (4,063,853 registered Florida Republicans).[13]

Google Earth(KML) Map: Results by County

Florida Republican primary, 2012
Candidate Votes Percentage WTA estimated delegates
Mitt Romney 776,159 46.40% 50
Newt Gingrich 534,121 31.93% 0
Rick Santorum 223,249 13.35% 0
Ron Paul 117,461 7.02% 0
Rick Perry 6,775 0.41% 0
Jon Huntsman 6,204 0.37% 0
Michele Bachmann 3,967 0.24% 0
Herman Cain 3,503 0.21% 0
Gary Johnson 1,195 0.07% 0
Totals 1,672,634 100.00% 50

Though Gingrich was leading in Florida shortly after his victory in South Carolina, some missteps within the 10-day buffer period between both primaries allowed Romney to eventually come out on top. Most notably, in a potential effort to appeal to voters on the Space Coast, Gingrich proposed a moon base[14] as a possible project for his Presidency. This was met with derision from many people, including Mitt Romney, who mocked the idea at the CNN Debate.[15] Early voting that took place before Gingrich's South Carolina win was also highly in Romney's favor.

On a regional basis, Gingrich won most of North Florida, while Romney won in the densely populated cities of Central and South Florida.

Key: Withdrew
prior to contest


According to a Gingrich campaign memo, he will challenge the results based on an interpretation of the Republican National Committee's rules that state that no contest can be winner-take-all prior to April 1, 2012.[16][17][18][19][20][21][22] Gingrich will request that delegates be divided proportionally, corresponding to the percentage of votes each candidate received.[23] It is not known what result a successful challenge might have.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Richard E. Berg-Andersson (December 28, 2011). "Florida Republican primary". The Green Papers. Retrieved January 14, 2012. 50 of Florida's delegates to the Republican National Convention are allocated to the Presidential contender receiving the most votes in today's Florida Presidential Primary. (Republican Party of Florida Rule 10 B).
  2. ^ "GOP chairman: Florida will be penalized, and 2012 race was set | Iowa Caucuses". Caucuses.desmoinesregister.com. October 25, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  3. ^ "Gingrich memo on Florida delegate allocation". Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
  4. ^ "County Voter Registration By Party as of Jan. 3, 2012" (PDF). Florida Division of Elections. January 15, 2012. p. 5. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Florida Department of State – Election Results". Florida Department of State: Division of Elections. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  6. ^ Mellman, Mark (January 5, 2012). "Iowa and New Hampshire: It's win one or go home". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  7. ^ Dreher, Rod. "Why do conservatives dislike Romney?". The American Conservative. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
  8. ^ Farah, Judy (January 19, 2012). ""Mittens" and "Pious Baloney" Why Do Conservatives Hate Mitt Romney?". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
  9. ^ Mitchell, Terry. "Analysis of the 2012 South Carolina GOP Primary". Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  10. ^ Astor, Maggie. "Florida Primary: January Date Violates Republican Rules, Complicates Race". International Business Times. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
  11. ^ O'Conner, Patrick (September 29, 2011). "Early Florida Primary Would Scramble 2012 Calendar". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  12. ^ "County Voter Registration By Party as of Jan. 3, 2012" (PDF). Florida Department of State: Division of Elections. January 15, 2012. pp. 5, 7. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  13. ^ "County Voter Registration By Party as of Jan. 3, 2012" (PDF). Florida Department of State: Division of Elections. January 15, 2012. pp. 5, 7. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  14. ^ Naylor, Brian. "On Florida's Space Coast, Gingrich Aims For The Moon". NPR.org. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  15. ^ CBS News (January 26, 2012), Romney mocks Gingrich's "moon colony" idea, retrieved April 26, 2016
  16. ^ "Florida primary 2012: Delegate dispute could drag on". Politico.com. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
  17. ^ "Gingrich to Challenge Florida's Winner-Take-All Primary Results". nymag.com. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
  18. ^ "The Real Delegate Count and Math — and Why Santorum Could win if Gingrich Drops out". redstate.com. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
  19. ^ "Gingrich Challenges Florida's Winner-Take-All Delegate Scheme". npr.org. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
  20. ^ "Gingrich challenges Florida GOP winner-take-all rule in attempt to get delegates". PalmBeachPost.com. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
  21. ^ "Gingrich Camp Memo Challenges Florida as Winner-Take-All; RNC Responds". FloridaConservativeNews.com. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
  22. ^ "RNC Member: Gingrich Could Contest Fla". nationalreview.com. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
  23. ^ "Gingrich Memo "RE: Issues Surrounding Florida's Allocation of Delegates"". FoxNews.com Politics. Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2012.