The GOP Primary is Over

Yesterday, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney stomped former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich in the Florida primary, 46 to 32 percent. It was a dominating performance, with Romney winning almost every demographic that matters most to the Republican party: men, whites, Hispanics, all age brackets, all wealth brackets, and even Evangelical Christians and Tea Party supporters, two groups he’s struggled with in the past. Tellingly, women overwhelmingly voted for Romney over “Mr. Overlap” Gingrich — 52 to 28 percent. (The Daily Show nailed Gingrich’s problem with a fake focus group on Monday night.) Yesterday, the super PACs were also forced to disclose their fundraising for the last three quarters of 2011; little surprise that Romney-backing “Restore Our Future” had raised a stunning $30 million.

Gingrich is showing no sign of stopping his campaign, and a number of important people (very conservative folks, Sheldon Adelson, primary-fight-loving networks/pundits/journalists) are hoping he’ll continue his fight. And he’s certainly capable of swiping a few of the Christian-heavy Southern states. But really, Romney’s ultimate nomination is looking more assured than ever.

The problem for Gingrich is that the rest of America looks more like Florida and less like the three other early contest states (Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina), as the New York Times pointed out this morning:

“No state where Republicans have competed this year is more reflective of the nation’s geographical, political and ethnic diversity than Florida, and its complexity seemed to help Mr. Romney to turn back the grass-roots coalition that Mr. Gingrich had been counting on.”

In Florida, Romney showed he can win all kinds of groups. Which, you know, is pretty essential to winning a general election.