Fla. Holds the Key for GOP
Sunshine State can boost, dash electoral dreams
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2008 10:43 AM CST
Republican Presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani walks in the Three Kings Parade in the Little Havana section of Miami, Fla, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008, as he continues to campaign...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Republican field has made a mad dash for wide-open Florida, where Mike Huckabee prays for the Panhandle pious, John McCain hustles veterans, and Rudy Giuliani reminds ex-New Yorkers how much he did for them. The Jan. 29 primary is the first closed contest, meaning McCain can’t rely on independents to carry the state—though he edges Giuliani in recent polls.

Even counting Mitt Romney’s open checkbook, no candidate has enough cash to deluge Florida with TV ads, the Washington Post reports. The stakes are high not just because of the 57 delegates—or 114, if the party reverses the penalty for moving the primary up—but because it will make or break Giuliani and may be Huckabee's last stand.