Not that Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada, and South Carolina aren’t as important, but Florida was a make-or-break for Giuliani and the dynamics have shifted there ten-fold from a few months ago.
First, a video report from NBC News:
Next, a story from Reuters:
SUNNY ISLES BEACH, Florida (Reuters) – Florida voters could anoint a front-runner among Republicans in the White House race and put onetime favorite and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in trouble in the state’s nominating contest on Tuesday.
Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who have been leading in polls, traded final barbs as voting began. They have been locked in a seesawing battle to be the party’s candidate for the November presidential election.
Giuliani has staked his campaign on a strong showing in Florida after largely ignoring other states that held nominating contests earlier this month.
But polls have shown him trailing both nationally and in this state with a large population of retired New Yorkers as McCain and Romney picked up momentum from earlier wins.
Voting is scheduled to wrap up at 7 p.m. EST in most of Florida and an hour later in the northwestern part of the state. Results usually emerge soon after.
So around 7pm ET, we should begin knowing some results from at least the eastern part of the state perhaps. However, they might hold results up to 8pm ET since the western side of the state’s panhandle is in central time.
Giuliani has hinted that he might make a decision about dropping out come Wednesday. I think anything short of 1st place is a blow to Giuliani and I don’t see how he can continue much further. He has no momentum heading into Super Tuesday.
The latest polls have Romney/McCain still in a dead even tie. McCain seems to have a slight edge it seems. If McCain emerges victorious, he’s the true front runner I’d say and has a good chance come Super Tuesday to sweep quite a few states.
We’ll have coverage starting around 7pm ET or so depending on when results begin coming in.
Update @ 5:26pm ET
Results won’t be available until 8pm ET at which point the entire state is done voting.