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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 January 2008, 09:18 GMT
US election 2008: Florida
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By winning Florida's Republican primary, John McCain became the formidable front-runner in his party's presidential race.

In clinching a contest in which only registered Republicans were able to take part, he demonstrated that he could win over the party's activist base.

And with Rudy Giuliani's disastrous third-place finish prompting his withdrawal from the race, Mr McCain's position was boosted still further by securing Mr Giuliani's endorsement - and the votes of a significant proportion of the former New York mayor's supporters.

FLORIDA PRIMARY: RESULTS
Republicans
John McCain: 36%
Mitt Romney: 31%
Rudy Giuliani: 15%
Mike Huckabee: 13%
Ron Paul: 3%
Democrats
Hillary Clinton: 50%
Barack Obama: 33%
John Edwards: 14%
With 99% of vote counted

Florida - like a number of other states - was penalised by the Democratic and Republican parties for holding a primary before 5 February.

None of the state's Democratic delegates will be able to take their seats at the party's national convention, and only 50% of the state's Republican delegates will be allowed to do so.

This means no Florida Democrats will take part in the vote (at the Democratic convention) to select the Democratic nominee for the presidency, and only half the usual number of Florida Republicans will take part in the vote to select the Republican nominee.

The Democratic primary, the purpose of which is to determine which candidate (or candidates) Florida's delegates support at the convention, therefore held only symbolic value this year.

Hillary Clinton won the contest, after vowing to fight to allow Florida's delegates to vote at the convention in spite of their rule-breaking.

Demographically, Florida has large Hispanic and retiree populations, making immigration and healthcare key political issues here.



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