Florida voters have already started making their choices known
The next big date in the road of the Republican nominating process is January 31 when Florida Republicans determine their preference to take on President Obama. But a lot could be determined before the last day of January as voters in Florida are already casting their votes.
Polling stations opened in all 67 counties in the Sunshine State on Saturday, even before South Carolina picked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich over opponents Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul.
With Gingrich's last minute surge and win in South Carolina, Florida's primary became a lot more relevant, said Brian Hughes, spokesman for Florida's Republican party.
"The South Carolina outcome put it all in play," Hughes said.
According to Hughes, 225,000 Floridians have already voted either though early voting or absentee ballots, just a fraction of the 4 million Republicans registered to vote. But Hughes said the numbers are already surpassing early voting numbers in 2008 where 1.9 million -- or 51 percent -- of registered Republicans voted in that primary contest.
"As far as enthusiasm and activity, it seems like we're going to have even higher turnout in the past," Hughes said.
Florida is the first closed Republican primary this election, which means only registered Republicans are able to participate, which could help Gingrich.
And it is a winner-take-all state, sending all 50 delegates to the candidate who gets the most votes, even if there is no majority.
Early voting ends January 28 polls will reopen the morning of Tuesday, January 31.
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