January 23rd, 2012
02:02 PM ET
3 years ago

Could early votes in Florida help Romney?

(CNN) – Florida's primary may still be eight days away, but voting is already underway.

Early voting began statewide on Saturday and 53,000 ballots were cast by Sunday, according to the Florida Department of State, which runs the division of elections.

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But that's only part of the story. According to the state, 475,000 people had requested and were sent absentee ballots, and as of last Wednesday 180,000 were cast and received by Florida officials.

All of those people voted before Newt Gingrich skyrocketed in the polls and before the former House speaker defeated former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas by double digits in Saturday's South Carolina Republican presidential primary.

If Florida's January 31 primary turns out to be a very close contest, absentee and early voting could be the deciding factor.

"I wouldn't be surprised if Romney captured half of the early absentee votes, because he has a campaign machine to produce them and none of his rivals for the GOP nomination can match him," says Alex Castellanos, a GOP strategist and CNN contributor.

"It may mean that Mitt Romney gets an extra quarter to play for that Gingrich won't, that Romney's won the fifth quarter," adds Castellanos, who was a top media adviser for Romney's 2008 nomination bid but who is not taking sides this cycle. "If Florida's a jump ball, Romney will get a tip just because of the absentee ballots."

Overall, nearly 1.95 million people voted in the 2008 Florida GOP primary.

– Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PSteinhauserCNN

Also see:

Santorum takes on Iran

Romney takes aim at Gingrich in Florida

Who is Saul Alinsky? A Gingrich line explained

Ethics penalty 'reimbursement,' says Gingrich


Filed under: 2012 • Florida
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Jariv

    Go Mitt !! You are the only one organized enough to win the nomination. People, if Gingrich could not even get enough signatures were he lives, why do you thin that is so? He is not presidential material. He is a lifelong politician that will finish destroying the little trust we have on the Government.

    January 23, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens received a lot of votes before voters began to see he represented the upper .00001% of wealthy tax evading elitists, and did little to create jobs.

    January 23, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    If Mittens spends another $10 million in Florida, like he did in the other states, and he still only gets 29%, shouldn't he drop out?

    January 23, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. Valentina

    Gov. Romney we stand by you because we need you to turn our economy around. We need you to make this election about President Obama and his pathetic record on job creation and overall economy – we need you to make this election a referendum on President Obama's poor policies. If Newt is the nominee this election will be all about Newt, basically a personality/character contest, which President will win because Newt has already admitted the Mr. Obama is more likable than he is. Please FL Republican voters – make the right choice for the sake of defeating the President in November.

    January 23, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  5. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Aw, Palladin, give Mitt a break. After all, all of the money he is spending in Florida on this campaign must be creating at least a couple of jobs. It ain't like he is running a shoestring budget campaign like his three surviving rivals. By the way, the advanced release date for Mitt's tax returns are already the number 1 in Science Fiction on the Amazon list.

    January 23, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. andrew

    Romney 2012! Gingrich is riding a wave of media backlash, but nobody really agrees with his morals or politics. His popularity will fade fast. We don't need another Oral Office in Washington. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and history isn't on Newts side. Family values is NOT his strong suit.

    January 23, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. Fuller

    Romney won't need the early votes to win Florida. The housing market has been devastated by Washington governance and Newt can't run from his past. He talks out of both sides of his mouth and I love the fact that we are getting down to the nuts and bolts of his character and morals. He's pretty shallow in both departments.

    January 23, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  8. Mike

    Mitt is going to need all of the help he can get to regain his front runner status. He is a Flip Flopper that does not connect with voters. He is in my opinion better that Newt, but my vote is going to Obama. The longer this Republican on Republican crime continues the better chance of Obama winning again. Keep up the good work GOP. Your Canadiates are reaalllllllllll Nice! Yall should be reeelllll proud!

    January 23, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I think that it is important that anyone that is registered to vote does so. We can't have people stopped from voting for any such reason. I think that we might want to have a longer period of voting (rather than just the one day). If we could have a week to vote, that might give more people a chance to vote (less excuse not to vote).

    January 23, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    "He is not presidential material."

    Nor is R-money,

    January 23, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. Todd in DC

    Gingrich is too hypocritical. A few negative ads showing how he left his wife in the hospital while impeaching Clinton for getting a bloe job will kill Swingrich's nascent popularity.

    Besides, Mittens won one primary outright, almost won another, and did well in the third. Newt did win one primary, but he miserably in the other two. Florida will go Mitt, and then Newt will fade quickly afterwards.

    January 23, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. Fla Pete

    Remember people,he's the one,Mitt,who can't figure out where all his money is.10 million a state ,to get the vote, that's how he'd run this country into the ground.He wanted companies like GM,Chysler and others to go belly up so he can sell them to the highest bidder,what an economic plan,priceless.Florida voters,your future is on the line especially you retirees,who will get the same from the Repubs as from Rick Scott,your glorious troll ,the governor.

    January 23, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. Jariv

    We need you Mitt.. no everyone will agree with you but, most know we do need you. An outsider that can be a leader and you have been in the past and continue to be.

    January 23, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  14. harvey johnson

    Obama 2012. A vote for a republican is a vote for the 1%, the greedy cooperations, and all have said they support the Ryan Plan to cut SSN, Medicare, Medicad and Veteran Benefits. So if you do vote for these hypocrites make sure when you greet a veteran or elderly person tell them how you voted to cut their lively hood and try to starve them to death so the rich don't have to pay their fair share of taxes. Cooperations are not people, apparently only the 1% are considered people by the republicans.

    January 23, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. billy

    When Gingrich said publicly that if he won he would give Sarah Palin a seat at the table- he lost our votes immediately. This man is just not electable and will ensure another Obama victory in 2012 -fact ;-)

    January 23, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  16. MWM

    Great Republican Quotes. "I am not a crook" RMN, "No new taxes" GHWB "I was not a lobbyist" Newt

    January 23, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Both Mittens and Newter could turn around our fragile recovery and send us back to a near depression.

    January 23, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  18. BKS_

    Mitt 2012!! A vote for Obama is a vote for food stamps and laziness!! What’s wrong with success? Look at the debt Obama has put us in…. Why do people still like Obama? He has done nothing for this country! He is a Socialist who is trying to make us like Europe! Mitt Knows how to manage a budget.. You CANT spent more than what you make!!! Mitt Romney would be a better President!

    January 23, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  19. bullock w

    I think maybe presdient obama make feeling scare of mitt Roomey
    Who recived from fraud check scam with afrcian amercian
    Then people are keep
    Cheat vote support vote for presdient obama with fraud acorn and fraud check scam of afrcian amercican
    I need to congression keep ingerivstor against acorn and fraud check scam
    God blessing

    January 23, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. CanadaONE

    You should STOP broadcasting these GOP debates – people from foreign countries will think you Americans are STUPID

    If you did even half on of what the GOP canditaes say they will do – YOU WILL DESTROY YOUR COUNTRY – had you given TWO more years to Bush you would be owned by China and you would not have anymore boader problems

    Are the GOP that STUPID! this is the 21 century you cannot seperate the actions of government and business

    if you do you will get what BUSH created

    thank God there are many people in the USA who are not republican

    othwise you would be dead in the water

    republicans don't visit Canada we will put you in jail for economic terrorism

    love Canada

    January 23, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. Drew

    The people who vote early already have their hearts and minds set for a particular candidate, so I doubt other primary results would end up influencing their choice.

    January 23, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Hopefully the Democrats aren't perpetrating more absentee ballot fraud!

    January 23, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  23. Frank

    @MWM

    Here's a quote for you, "When your poll numbers drop, you are an idiot," Obama said then. "When your poll numbers are high, you are a genius."

    What's Obama's poll numbers again! Get real buddy

    January 23, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. The Greedy Old PIgs have declared class war on US!

    Jariv, we most certainly do not need or want, nor can we afford, to elect a predatory vulture capitalist to keep handing out wars and corporate welfare to his fellow psychopaths in the GOBP's neocon deathcult. R-money is just another spoiled rich brat, riding Daddy's coat-tails and completely lacking empathy for average humans. He's GWB Version 2.0, minus the "compassionate" part.

    January 23, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. diridi

    Mitt Romney is going to "BANKRUPT AMERICA, SHIP JOBS OVERSEAS" For Greed., Evil, Loot, Ban your social security, Medicare, Health Care Law, etc, He sides with Insurance Thugs. Loot this nation. very very EVIL. Bain Capital, Caymen Island is where he stashed his money.

    January 23, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |