Republican voters are at the polls in Florida on Tuesday casting their ballots for the party’s presidential nomination.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is highly-favored in the Florida primary that is expected to be a pivotal contest in the race for the nomination. Several public opinion polls show Romney with a double-digit lead over main rival and former House speaker Newt Gingrich.
With a widening lead, Romney canceled a Tuesday morning rally. Meanwhile, Gingrich made one last push to curb his rival’s support with four events across Florida on Tuesday. He also made an appeal for the two other conservative candidates to leave the race in order to prevent a more moderately-portrayed Romney from winning the nomination.
Former U.S. senator Rick Santorum and Texas Congressman Ron Paul are the two other candidates on the ballot in Florida, although polls show both far behind the frontrunners. Both candidates have moved their campaign efforts on to other states.
More than 600,000 Floridians have already cast ballots in early voting leading up to this primary day.
The candidates are vying for Florida’s 50 delegates to the Republican Party National Convention in August. The delegates’ votes officially nominate the candidate.
Both Romney and Gingrich have campaigned hard in the state, with the Romney campaign putting nearly $14 million into television ads against Gingrich. The candidates have also taken their criticisms of each other on the campaign trail.
Gingrich lashed out at Romney on Monday, accusing him of being a liberal and running dishonest political ads. The former congressman says he expects a long campaign in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination.
Romney has said that Gingrich is making excuses for his debate performances, and blasted Gingrich for being found guilty of ethics violations that forced him to resign as House speaker.
Romney needs a win in Florida to regain his momentum after losing to Gingrich by double-digits in the South Carolina primary January 21.