Florida Primary Day


MIAMI (AP) -- While polls gave Mitt Romney strong odds to win Florida's Republican primary, some voters said Tuesday they weren't all that enthusiastic about their choices on the ballot.

Romney entered the day as the heavy favorite over Newt Gingrich in Florida's winner-take-all primary. Rick Santorum and Ron Paul have ceded the vote to the two front-runners and planned to spend the day campaigning in Colorado and Nevada.

Mayra Canto, 55, said she voted for Romney, but she also called him "the best of the worst."

"I consider him to be more honest and with less baggage than the others," said Canto, 55, as she ordered coffee at Versailles Restaurant, a famed political hub in Miami's Little Havana.

Mario Denis, 36, said he planned to see how busy the polls were before going to vote. If he makes it into the voting booth, his vote will be for Romney, even though Denis said he wasn't happy about Romney's foreign policy.

"The way I see it, it's the lesser of two evils," said Denis, who also was at Versailles.

Romney's business experience swayed some voters concerned about the economic recovery. Others simply saw him as the candidate most likely to succeed against President Barack Obama in the general election.

"I think he has a grasp of economics and business that the other candidates don't have," Tony Dowel said after voting for Romney at St. Edward Church in Palm Beach.

The 75-year-old retired stockbroker from Palm Beach also supported Romney four years ago.

"I want to vote for a winner," Dowel said.

GOP officials in Florida were anticipating a big turnout of more than 2 million voters, up from a record 1.9 million in the Republican primary in 2008. More than 635,000 Floridians had already voted as of Monday, either by visiting early voting stations or by mailing in absentee ballots, ahead of the total combined early vote in the GOP primary four years ago.

Romney and his allies have poured more than $14 million into Florida television advertising, primarily to attack Gingrich -- a tactic that turned off some voters.

Sarah Agner of Miami said she would vote for Romney because he has "good values and morals," but she said the negative ad campaigns had soured her on politics.

"I think the candidates are more interested in throwing each other under the bus than focusing on the issues," said Agner, 37, who is studying to be a paralegal.

Retiree Dorothy Anderson said Romney's ads pushed her to vote for Gingrich.

"The dirty ads really turned me off on Mitt Romney," she said after voting at a Pinellas Park retirement community. "In fact, if he gets the nomination, I probably won't vote for him."

But Gingrich's baggage swayed retiree Curtis Dempsey against the former House Speaker. Dempsey, also voting at the retirement community, said he would sit out the general election if Gingrich wins the Republican nomination.

"Well, the only thing Newt Gingrich has to offer is a big mouth and he's been showing that for some time," Dempsey said. "Plus he got kicked out of the Congress. He was the lead man there for a while. How do you get kicked out of the Congress and then run for president of the United States?"


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  • by Sid Location: Tallahassee on Jan 31, 2012 at 04:18 PM
    Mitt brags about "not paying a dollar more" in taxes to the very same country that he wants to lead? He's changed every position in order to be president. I don't trust him.
  • by Amazed Eisenhower Republican on Jan 31, 2012 at 04:15 PM
    What hath the GOP wrought? A flip-flopping bishop in the Mormon church who baptized his dead, atheist father-in-law, to a Freddie Mac historian who wants to lower the unemployment rate on the moon, to Ron Paul? Ron Paul? Ron Paul? Please folks.
  • by Jeanne Location: Tallahassee on Jan 31, 2012 at 03:17 PM
    The reason voters do not get the choice of "NONE OF THE ABOVE" is because to allow this language on a ballot, the FL Legislature has to approve it. No legislator wants to lose to "NONE OF THE ABOVE". Plus, there is the cost of scheduling another election if "NONE OF THE ABOVE" is the top vote getter.
  • by Homer on Jan 31, 2012 at 02:20 PM
    Whoever you voted for, he's considered "The Best of a Bad Lot."
  • by Eminem on Jan 31, 2012 at 12:45 PM
    Will the real Slim Shady, (uh, I mean't Mitt Romney), please stand up.
  • by Mary Ann Location: Tallahassee on Jan 31, 2012 at 12:01 PM
    I would like see a news report on why voters do not have the choice to vote for NO ONE. If you do not like any of the choices a lot of people will vote for the lesser of two EVILS than for someone they truly believe in. Or some folks will just not vote. I think we should be able to vote for no one so that the POLITICIANS know we do not like any of them!
  • by Buddy Location: Madison on Jan 31, 2012 at 11:56 AM
    Anybody "But" Obama, he's got to go.
  • by it is what it is on Jan 31, 2012 at 11:41 AM
    One thing that certainly came out in this primary - Romney is a snake in the grass what will do anything to get elected. I don't like that but if it comes down to him and OweBummer in the election then my vote will go to Romney. Bu then again, it could be anybody against OweBummer and I would vote against OweBummer. The man is incompetent.
  • by mike Location: tally on Jan 31, 2012 at 10:55 AM
    all of the current Republican candidates are not worth voting for. They have baggage, a history of poor decisions, bad policy, and corruption. We need leaders that can think, are not criminals (Scott), and will actually work for the American people(not just the rich and powerful). It is hard to believe the current slate still in the running is worth voting for. Newt and Mitt are bad for America. Look at what Newt has done in DC, and Mitt in Mass. History speaks for them.
  • by Bubba on Jan 31, 2012 at 10:31 AM
    All the smack talk from the right about how horrible Obama is, but look at the pathetic bunch of losers they came up with as their own choice. This is progress?
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