Digested: Florida Republican Primary

The now significantly streamlined race for the Republican Presidential nomination continues on the other side of the Atlantic, with presumptive frontrunner Mitt Romney regaining his stride after a distinctly shaky week in which he was stripped of one primary victory, and suffered an unexpected heavy loss at another.

Decisively trounced by right-wing space cadet Newt Gingrich in conservative-leaning South Carolina, Romney recovered to take the influential state of Florida with 46% of the vote to Gingrich’s 32%. Although his impressive win secures 50 delegates for the Romney campaign and pushes him well in to the lead, his victory could have been even more resounding.

Under normal circumstances Florida would yield 99, but the state had its delegate total halved as punishment for jumping itself to an earlier position on the primary calendar – as petty as it sounds, states try and hold their primaries as soon as possible to secure crucial early influence.

Regardless, the significance of winning earlier states is more about the momentum it gives a candidate than the number of candidates they win. If Romney can build up enough of that on the back of Florida, and a virtually certain win next week in Nevada, a state with a large population of Mormons and that borders his Utah stronghold, then he’ll soon be the de facto Republican Presidential candidate.