To the richest who can advertise longest, the spoils. That should be Florida's official electoral motto. After more than a year of saturation marketing, if Romney doesn't beat Gingrich by 20% or more, the momentum effect may be offsetting Romney's millions, even with the early voting lock that the Mittster had going into today's primary here.
The Republican Party was wise to fight back Florida as an early primary state. It is one of the most expensive states in the nation to campaign in, with ads statewide for short-run costing millions. That leaves candidates building critical mass short of the money to make a successful run here.
The giant senior population has a cadre of Republican voters to go along with Billy Bob, the NRA, and the Teahadis. Senior voters vote early which nullifies much of the momentum from the prior primaries.
The money does the talking. There are no yard signs here, at least not in the Blue counties of the state. No bumper stickers. No grass roots people yelling on street corners. There are more Allan West stickers from 2010 than Romney 2012 or Gingrich 2012.
The calculation is that it is too expensive to go toe-to-toe on the ground here in Florida. There was some sense in bringing the fights in the primary in states where the cost of doing business, and the distances involved in getting the reach to a wide variety of counties, makes sense.
The net effect is that, other than Miami, whose Cuban population the GOP courts, the heavy presence of Republicans is going to be loaded to the Reddest part of the state from the Panhandle down to Orlando.
The biggest VIP to hit Palm Beach County of late? Michelle Obama.
The Media was trumpeting "Double Digit" leads for Romney. That should be expected here in a state where Romney has effectively been running since 2008, and has been hitting television, print and the web with saturation advertising for more than a year.
If Romney doesn't top Newt by the high double digits, consider his millions spent here a failure. If Gingrich pulls to within 12%, the momentum from South Carolina, and Romney's continued vulnerability, will be the story spilling over into Nevada.
The biggest loser today won't be Ron Paul or Rick Santorum. It will be the Florida Republican Party. It gambled half of its delegates for an early primary only to prove the GOP national folks right: Early voting and its size make Florida a bad choice for an early primary state.
It will also be the national GOP that loses. Florida has been a big emergency brake on the Gingrich campaign. The whole process then spills into Nevada, a GOP political desert, filled with the bones and wreckage of a party in disarray after John Ensign's scandals and the failed Teahadi bid of Sharron Angle to take out Harry Reid.
In days of old, after four or five primaries, most candidates moving on to the Presidential Round had the campaign in the bag. This go-round, the weak Mr. Romney looks to be doing battle clear into the middle of the process.
While some GOP regulars worry about Gingrich's threat to take the fight to the nominating process, trying to garner the anti-Romney forces under one standard-bearer, the truth is that the GOP powers-that-be are praying for Newt to fail. At the Convention, which they control, he will fail.
Gingrich is the Republican Ralph Nader, a spoiler for Romney who will drive the cost of the primary to such levels that the GOP will wander into the general election drained and damaged. Turnout numbers at all the primaries do not show the momentum wave that Republicans were hoping for.
Mr. Obama has been patiently amassing a campaign war chest that can fund an Armada worthy of Mr. Romney's personal millions and the Wall Street fleet behind Bendo the Waffle Man.
The winner of today's primary, and those of the foreseeable future? Barack Obama.
My shiny two.
Brian Ross is the managing editor of truth-to-Power.com and a blogger for the Huffington Post. His latest piece is "Will Republicans Take This Pledge? Leave Racism Out of Campaign 2012" at t2P.