Charles Dharapak/AP/Press Association Images
US 2012

Romney takes Florida as women ditch Gingrich

Mitt Romney routed the other candidates in the winner-takes-all primary and took the opportunity to get digs in at both Obama and Europe.

MITT ROMNEY IS enjoying a substantial victory over rival Newt Gingrich this morning after winning the Florida primary last night.

The millionaire is now significantly closer to clinching the Republican party’s presidential nomination after sealing the critical primary with 46 per cent of the vote.

There are just four men left in the race for the GOP nomination but the competition remains fierce.

In his victory speech, Romney warned that although the contest is “hard fought” it will not leave the party “divided and weak”.

It prepares us…and we will win.”

The former Massachusetts governor then took his time on the winning stand to launch an attack on the incumbent Barack Obama.

Mr. President, you were elected to lead, you chose to follow, and now it’s time to get out of the way.”

He also called the last few years a “detour” rather than the American destiny.

I want us to remember when our White House reflected the best of who we are – and not the worst of what Europe has  become.”

Gingrich, who achieved 32 per cent of the vote, has said he will continue in the race despite last night’s setback.

The former House speaker seems to have lost out with the women of Florida, exit polls showed.

Romney led Gingrich 52 to 28 among women voters with only about half of female voters saying they had a favourable view of him as a person.

Meanwhile, the LA Times reports that Ron Paul – who took just 7 per cent of the vote – landed in Las Vegas last night before calling Romney to congratulate him.

However, he also added that he would “see him soon in the caucus states” – the regions where Paul has focused most of his attention.

Rick Santorum, who did not launch a full effort in Florida, saw 13 per cent of the vote go his way.

Florida, a winner-takes-all primary, is worth 50 Republican National Convention delegates, by far the most of any primary state so far.

Watch Romney’s victory speech:

-Additional reporting by AP’s coverage of the GOP nomination race so far>

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