Florida, a make-or-break state for GOP White House hopefuls, will be saturated with as much as $15 million worth of TV advertising in the next few weeks as candidates and super PACs try to prove Iowa either right or irrelevant.
“Florida is a state that’s very different from Iowa,” said Ken Goldstein, president of the Campaign Media Analysis Group. “Iowa had about 120,000 [Republican primary] voters and Florida will have 2 million.”
A winner-take-all state with 50 delegates, Florida rose in importance in the GOP’s White House race after the muddled results of the Iowa caucuses, which gave former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney an eight-vote victory over former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. The caucuses also gave Texas Rep. Ron Paul unexpectedly strong support.
They will battle it out in New Hampshire on Jan. 10, and are likely to head to South Carolina’s Jan. 21 contest and compete in Florida’s Jan. 31 primary.
Although Rep. Michele Bachman, R-Minn., has dropped out of the race, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman are still running.
Florida could settle the volatile race much the way it essentially sealed the Republican nomination four years ago for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
The high-stakes contest is expected to be very expensive. Florida has 10 media markets, and it’s estimated it costs a campaign more than $1.5 million a week to air an ad statewide.
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