- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 31, 2012

LONE TREE, Colo. — You know you’ve given up winning the Florida Republican primary when you spend election day in Colorado and Nevada.

Republican presidential hopefuls Ron Paul and Rick Santorum effectively conceded the winner-take-all Florida primary by campaigning out West, insisting they were both in the race to stay despite finishing well behind Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in Tuesday’s contest.

“Republicans can do better. We can do better than the discussion and the dialogue that were going on in the state of Florida and where this campaign went downhill,” Mr. Santorum, who finished with 13 percent in the Sunshine State, said in remarks to supporters in Las Vegas.

Speaking to his own raucous crowd in Henderson, Nev., Mr. Paul — who finished fourth with 7 percent in Florida — said he called Mr. Romney to congratulate him and promised the former Massachusetts governor he “would see him in the caucus states.”

Earlier Tuesday, Mr. Santorum promised a standing-room-only audience of about 250 backers at the Lone Tree Golf Club in Colorado that his campaign would continue regardless of the outcome in Florida: “This state alone could change the whole tenor of this race.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Paul rallied supporters at speeches in Fort Collins, Denver and Colorado Springs. The Texas congressman drew a packed crowd of more than 1,000, many of them students at Colorado State University, to his speech on the Fort Collins campus.

“All we have to do is return to our constitutional form of government, and we can get out of his mess in no time,” said Mr. Paul. “We need to keep America safe, but not to be the policeman of the world.”

Both candidates flew to Nevada for campaign appearances after starting the day in Colorado. Nevada holds its Republican caucuses Saturday, while Colorado’s caucuses are slated for Feb. 7.

Mr. Romney won both the Colorado and Nevada caucuses in the 2008 primary competition, besting John McCain, who ultimately won the nomination. Mr. Romney is a Mormon, and both Colorado and Nevada have significant Mormon voting blocs.

Mr. Paul and Mr. Santorum trail in the national polls, but this year’s Republican presidential race has already seen three winners in three states: Mr. Santorum in Iowa, Mr. Romney in New Hampshire and former House Speaker Gingrich in South Carolina.

Mr. Santorum insisted that the contest is still up for grabs, even though the Florida primary had boiled down to a two-man race between Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Romney.

At the Lone Tree event, one supporter held up a sign that read, “Of the two evils, choose neither — pick Rick.”

“I always say if you don’t like the way this race is going, wait a week or two,” said Mr. Santorum. “You have three candidates that candidly have a chance to win the election. … You have a chance right here in Colorado to change this race. You have a chance to put up a conservative who will win.”

During a question-and-answer session, two audience members singled out Mr. Gingrich for criticism over his two failed marriages and admitted infidelity. “How many women here would vote for Newt Gingrich?” said one man.

A woman in the crowd echoed his sentiment, saying, “I have a real problem with Newt Gingrich changing wives like most men change underwear.”

Mr. Romney is scheduled to visit Colorado next week before Tuesday’s caucus, while Mr. Gingrich is expected to head to Nevada after the Florida vote.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

blog comments powered by Disqus

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide