TAMPA, Fla. – Mitt Romney has jumped ahead in early returns Tuesday night as he reaches for a resounding victory in the Florida primary, the biggest test so far in a Republican presidential race with Newt Gingrich that is growing steadily more negative with no quick end in sight.
Returns from 11 per cent of the precincts show former Massachusetts Gov. Romney with 51 per cent of the vote, to 29 per cent for Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of Representatives.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum had 12 per cent, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul 7 per cent. Neither Santorum nor Paul mounted an effort in the state.