January 29th, 2008
08:09 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain, Romney lead early in Florida; Giuliani trails

MIAMI (CNN) - In early results in Florida's Republican primary, Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney appeared at the top of the field in a winner-take-all battle for the delegate-rich state.

With 19 percent of precincts reporting, McCain had 34 percent of the vote and Romney had 31 percent. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee were in a tight contest for third - with a middle-of-the-pack finish threatening to deal a crushing blow to Giuliani's hopes.

Based on exit polls and early results, CNN was predicting that Giuliani could not finish first or second.

Giuliani had 17 percent and Huckabee was at 13 percent in the early going.

Florida has 57 delegates to the GOP nominating convention - making it by far the largest state yet to vote. It is also a "winner take all" state, meaning that all of those delegates will be going to the top finisher, not split based on the percentage each candidate earns.

National polls beginning last year pegged Giuliani as the early favorite in the race for the Republican nomination. But he chose to ignore early contests - in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina - banking on a big result in Florida.

Early exit polls on Tuesday suggest that many of the moderate voters Giuliani - a big city mayor whose views on issues like abortion and immigration haven't always jibed with more conservative voters - were flocking to McCain.

Forty-one percent of Florida voters who described themselves as moderates said they voted for McCain, compared to 22 percent for Giuliani.

Filed under: Florida
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Jim

    bye-bye Rudy, and good riddance. His ghoulish 9-11 adverts were sickening, not to mention his adoption of the Norman Podhertz "bomb Iran now" mantra. Glad to see the back of him!

    January 29, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  2. Joe

    Go McCain! Go McCain! Go McCain!

    January 29, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  3. Micah

    How's Ron Paul doing?

    January 29, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  4. Walt

    So what about these 1 million+ Florida absentee ballots ?

    Which Republican candidate will collect the most absentee votes ?

    January 29, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  5. Kathy Register

    When reporting the results for the primaries in Florida, why is there no mention that the numbers reflect only those in their respective parties since Florida does not allow independents to vote in the primaries, which will certainly affect the numbers particularly on the democratic side. Frankly, as a registered republican and my husband a registered independent, we both regret that we were unable to vote for Obama.

    I will say that if Hillary Clinton wins the nomination, we will both be voting for the
    republican candidate in the general election.

    January 29, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  6. TNA

    As John McCain might say, Remember that old Rolling Stones' song, "Rudy Tuesday"....Gooooodbye, Rudy Tuesday!

    January 29, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  7. ron

    Go McCain!

    January 29, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  8. john

    Romney is the only LEGITIMATE Republican in this race. Vote Mitt
    if you want to win in November!

    January 29, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  9. Mr. T

    Giuliani, the man from wall street gambled on an election and got burned badly. One lesson for future politicians, elections are all about momentum.

    January 29, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  10. Peter Brown

    It's a Big McC attack in Flordia! McCain Again!

    January 29, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  11. george thomas,dalton,ga

    GO GO,Hillery it counts with me.

    January 29, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  12. Charles

    I have been a Republican all of my life and the thought of having a Democrat in the White House makes me sick. But if John McCain wins the Republican Nomination, I'm voting for Barak Obama. John McCain is not fit to be a leader. He might, and that's a very slim might, make a good Vice President. John McCain has never been a leader. The only time he has ever been able to get any kind of support on a bill is when he partners with a Democrat. John McCain has no understanding of what it means to have executive powers. I pray that he doesn't win. If he does, we will be guaranteed a Democrat in the White House.

    January 29, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  13. Micah

    To John:
    john January 29, 2008 9:03 pm ET

    Romney is the only LEGITIMATE Republican in this race. Vote Mitt
    if you want to win in November!

    Ron Paul is the embodiment on the conservative principles of the Republican party. How can you say that Mitt Romney is the only legitimate republican?

    January 29, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  14. alex


    word (i agree).

    January 29, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  15. Charles


    Ron Paul is quite possibly the most incoherent candidate to ever run for office. Everything he says is so ridiculously fringe that it's hard to know when to take him seriously. His ideas are not even feasible. Thank goodness Ron Paul doesn't have a personality. He may have been able to screw things up like Ross Perot. As it stands, Ron Paul only appeals to online junkies.

    January 29, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  16. Murry

    Interesting... I see Democrats saying they would vote Republican if Hillary wins. I see Republicans saing they would vote for Obama if McCain wins. The people voting for Hillary seems to be everyones grandmother. No disrespect to grandmothers, but maybe elect a candidate that appeals more demographic groups.
    I'm a woman and I'm voting for Barack Obama.

    January 29, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  17. Micah

    Incoherent? Watch the debates he participates in and you will see who is incoherent.

    January 30, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  18. Tina

    Republican's are Clever!

    The reason why the Republican's are freely endorsing Barak Obama without any question about his record or how he plans to make "change" is so that he wins for the Democrats and faces a Republican for the Presidential Election and LOSES! Whites will surely vote Republican before they vote for Obama.

    January 30, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |