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Sen. Marco Rubio predicts Florida GOP primary winner will become nominee

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio didn't endorse in the Florida primary, but he did make one prediction on Tuesday before polls closed — whoever wins Florida will be the Republican nominee. "I think the winner of Florida is in all likelihood going to be the nominee of our party, and rightfully so," Rubio said on CNN. "Florida is, as you said, a mini America. Virtually every issue we want them to be conversant on and convincing on is a discussion we've had in Florida." Rubio also said for the umpteenth time that he wasn't interested in the job of vice president. "Well, look, my answer hasn't changed on that. I've answered it repeatedly. I have said I'm focused on my job in the Senate. I don't think I'm going to be asked in terms of getting elected. I'm not going to be the vice presidential nominee but I'm flattered by your words. … We're going to TiVo that to my mom," Rubio said.

Governor mum on who got his vote

Florida Gov. Rick Scott cast his presidential primary ballot Tuesday morning at a community center on Tallahassee's west side, but wouldn't say how he voted. "It's a secret ballot, fortunately," Scott told reporters afterward. "He had less than 10 letters in the last name. I was trying to think of some way where everybody would be in." The conventional media wisdom is that Scott is a Mitt Romney voter, but he wouldn't say. The cat-and-mouse game persisted when a reporter asked Scott if his candidate of choice has fewer than eight letters. Said Scott: "I'm not telling you how I voted." He said his daughter Alison and her husband "split their vote" — so whoever the Scotts prefer, it isn't unanimous. Inside the Lincoln Neighborhood Center, Scott made small talk with Cedric Thomas, a poll worker who like Scott is a U.S. Navy veteran. But they swapped small talk over their military service, and Thomas said Scott didn't tell him how he voted either.

Silver lining noted in Gingrich's loss

Gingrich Florida campaign chairman Bill McCollum tempered expectations before the polls closed Tuesday, noting that Gingrich was outspent at least 3-to-1 by Romney and the super PAC supporting Romney's campaign. Yet, former Attorney General McCollum found silver linings — saying that the Gingrich campaign is in a better position financially leaving Florida than it was entering the state, and that Gingrich still performs well in national polls among Republicans. He also talked about a hypothetical challenge to how Florida's 50 delegates are awarded. RNC members say the delegates should be awarded proportionally by vote. "Whoever loses should and will challenge," McCollum said.

Times staff writers Angie Drobnic Holan, Steve Bousquet and Aaron Sharockman contributed to this report.

Sen. Marco Rubio predicts Florida GOP primary winner will become nominee 01/31/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 11:15am]
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