“I stand ready to lead this party and to lead our nation.  My leadership will end the Obama era and begin a new era of American prosperity,” Romney said in his victory speech in Tampa Tuesday night.  Romney who won all 50 of Florida’s convention delegates is the only Republican candidate to have won two primaries (the first three went to three different winners).

 With 46% of the vote, Romney received more than Gingrich (32%) and Santorum (13%) combined, followed by Paul in last place with only 7%.  Most of Romney’s support seemed to hail from the southern and central part of the state with Gingrich’s from the north.  He also captured a higher percentage of support from female and Hispanic voters in Florida.

 Many credit his debate performance last week along with his negative ad campaign against opponent Gingrich for cinching this victory in the Sunshine State.  Romney’s campaign spent nearly $7 million on television ads leading in to the primary, while the Gingrich campaign spent about $1 million.  Conservatives have expressed concerns that these personal attacks could cause problems within the party.  Romney seems to feel that competition within the primary would not divide, but rather prepare the Republican Party for the national convention and unity in winning the presidency.

 As candidates head to the west for the Nevada caucus, it’s anything but unity between them.  Especially with Gingrich who despite his loss this week remains determined to fight and win the nomination as the conservative alternative to Romney.

More from Beliefnet and our partners