Florida Republicans Speak Out

Edwin Cajas (left) and his father Craig Eickhoff (right) voted for Newt Gingrich in Fishhawk Ranch Tuesday.
TAMPA (2012-01-31) -

It’s decision day for GOP voters in Florida, and Mitt Romney has a double-digit lead in most polls. But Newt Gingrich supporters aren’t giving up yet.

Romney was able to use his superior organization and money advantage to blanket Florida’s 10 media markets with commercials attacking Gingrich. That, and two strong debate performances in Florida, have allowed Romney to re-take the polling lead.

Craig Eickhoff of suburban Tampa says he voted for Gingrich anyway.

"He may not take Florida, but every vote that gives him a higher percentage of the vote in Florida will help influence things down the road," Eickhoff said. "We don’t vote for the candidate we think is gonna win, we vote for the one who we believe in," he said.

Gingrich says no matter what happens Tuesday, he is staying in the race all the way to the GOP convention in Tampa.

Tuesday's GOP primary in Florida is the first one held in a large, diverse state. Voters see it as a good test run for the fall election.

With southerners in the north, northerners in the south, and immigrants all over, Florida is the primary state so far that best reflects the rest of America.

And that, says homemaker and mother-of-three Clair Detulleo, should help defeat President Obama.

"I’m hopeful that the person that comes out of Florida will win," Detulleo said. "It’s kind of like the heart of the country and what we’re feeling. So I think it’s gonna show a lot about where we’re gonna go," she said.

Detulleo voted in suburban Tampa Tuesday morning. Turnout is expected to be slightly higher this year than in the 2008 GOP primary but turnout is really low at the two Hillsborough Precincts on USF's Tampa Campus. The last time we checked, only two votes had been cast since 10:30 this morning. And there are 251 registered Republicans in those particular precincts.

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