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Romney Wins Republican Primary In Florida

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney has won a big victory in the Florida Republican presidential primary improving his chances of receiving his party's nomination to run against incumbent President Barack Obama in the November national presidential election.

With nearly all the precincts reporting results from the primary poll on January 31, Romney took 46 percent of the vote compared to his closest competitor – Newt Gingrich – who received 32 percent.

Other candidates former Senator Rick Santorum and Congressman Ron Paul received 13 and seven percent respectively.

Romney was gracious after winning and applauded his opponents' efforts, but the current front-runner for his party's nomination used his victory address in Florida to send a warning to the Democratic Party.

'Now A Two-Candidate Race'

"There are fewer candidates than when the race began, but the three gentlemen left are serious and able competitors," he said. "And I congratulate them on another hard-fought contest in this campaign. Primary contests are not easy -- and they're not supposed to be. As this primary unfolds, our opponents in the other party have been watching.

"They like to comfort themselves with the thought that a competitive campaign will leave us divided and weak. But I've got some news for them: A competitive primary does not divide us; it prepares us."

Gingrich noted there were still 46 states where elections will be held and said the Florida election showed it is now a two-candidate race for the Republican nomination between himself and Romney.

compiled from agency reports