GOP Primary Comes to Florida


With only four candidates left, the race for the 2012 GOP nomination comes to Florida.Tomorrow voters will choose their favorite candidate from among former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul.

Only “four million of the 11 million active, registered voters” are eligible to vote in the primary, according to Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho.

Santorum claimed the Iowa primary; Romney won in New Hampshire, and Gingrich won in South Carolina. Florida could give an edge to any candidate, especially Ron Paul, who hopes to level the playing field.

At stake are 50 delegates – all of which will go to the winner of the fourth primary in this race. Only the candidate that claims 1,144 delegates will be the GOP candidate.

Brian Johnson, 24, a senior computer information systems student said “I believe that Obama will have no contest in the election as the GOP have been arguing amongst themselves and are not producing solutions to problems that need attention.”

Websites operated by the four campaigns tout policies on abortion, jobs and healthcare that these candidates say they would champion.

Romney, for instance, wants fiscal and trade reform. “There’s much that needs to be done and done quickly to put America back on the right path,” said Romney in an open letter on his website.

Gingrich, who is against the universal healthcare policy known to opponents as “Obamacare,” laid out a 13-step plan that includes offering Americans “the choice of a generous tax credit or the ability to deduct the value of their health insurance up to a certain amount.”

Border security is a recurring theme, and Paul wants more focus on immigration than foreign conflicts. “[We could] pay less attention to the borders between Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan and bring our troops home and deal with the border,” Paul said in August at the Iowa straw poll.

Many students want to be informed voters and make the right decision.

Jessica Willie, 19, an agricultural business student said, “I haven’t been keeping up with the current events, but I don’t want to vote foolishly.”

According to Voter Registration Statistics on the Florida Division of Elections website, 36 percent of Florida voters are Republicans.

Voters must vote at the designated polling precincts listed on their voter’s cards. “If a voter has lost their card and does not know where their precinct is they can call the office and they will direct you where you should [vote],” Sancho said. Student IDs also count as picture ID.

“As long as a student has lived here for 29 days, they can register to vote in Leon County,” Sancho said.