News / USA

Fluid Republican Presidential Contest Shifts to Florida

Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich waves to the crowd with his wife Callista during a rally, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, in Columbia, South Carolina
Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich waves to the crowd with his wife Callista during a rally, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, in Columbia, South Carolina
TEXT SIZE - +
Michael Bowman

A fluid and surprise-laden Republican presidential nominating contest remains wide open after former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich won Saturday’s primary election in South Carolina, dealing a blow to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Both candidates already have their sights set on Florida, which votes at the end of the month.

After finishing fourth in both Iowa and New Hampshire, Newt Gingrich is basking in the afterglow of a resounding victory in South Carolina, where he captured 40-percent of the vote.  Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press television program, Gingrich continued to push populist themes that appear to have resonated with primary voters and contributed to his sudden surge.

“We are going to change things. We are going to make the establishment very uncomfortable. I am happy to be in the tradition of Ronald Reagan as the outsider who scares the Republican establishment," he said.

The eventual Republican nominee will face President Barack Obama, a Democrat, in November.

Until a few days ago, Mitt Romney topped the polls in South Carolina. With a well-funded campaign, a decisive victory in New Hampshire, and the backing of many establishment Republican figures, Romney was thought to be the clear front-runner in the Republican presidential race.  Appearing on Fox News Sunday, he tried to downplay the significance of his second-place finish in South Carolina with 28-percent of the vote.

“I am looking forward to a long campaign.  This is a tough process, and that is the way it ought to be.  We are selecting the president of the United States, someone who is going to face ups and downs and real challenges.  And I hope that through this process I can demonstrate that I can take a setback and come back strong," he said.

In televised debates before the South Carolina vote, Romney dodged questions about releasing his federal tax returns.  A multi-millionaire investor, Romney has the greatest personal wealth of all Republican presidential hopefuls.  Now, he is promising to release last year’s tax return as well as an estimate of the return he will file later this year.  Romney says he hopes to put the issue behind him.

“So you will have two years [of tax returns].  People can take a good look at it.  We will put them on the [campaign] Website.  We made a mistake in holding off as long as we did.  It was a distraction.  We want to get back to the real issues in the campaign: leadership, character, vision for America, how to get jobs again in America," he said.

Attention now turns to Florida, a state with more voters than Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina combined.  Romney is expected to be aided by the state’s somewhat more-moderate Republican voter base, the superiority of his campaign organization in the state, his ability to flood major media markets with advertising, and the fact that Florida allows early mail-in voting, meaning that some Florida ballots were cast before the Gingrich surge.

But the former House speaker says none of that will matter at a time of intense voter anger over America’s economic prospects. “There is something real and deep there that happens all across the country, and certainly in Florida.  As they look at the big boys in Wall Street, they look at the guys in Washington, they know none of the help got down to average, everyday Floridians.  And I think that gap creates a real anger against the national establishment," he said.

The other two remaining Republican hopefuls are former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and Texas Congressman Ron Paul.  Neither has given any indication of an intent to leave the race.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid