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Romney machine looks past Florida

By Steve Peoples

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Jan. 30 2012 1:55 a.m. MST

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, slices a roast pig as he campaigns at Casa Marin restaurant in Hialeah, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012.

Charles Dharapak, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

» View our political blog, with live updates and analysis of the Florida primary.

NAPLES, Fla. — Mitt Romney's strength may be growing in Florida, but win or lose, he won't secure the Republican presidential nomination after Tuesday's primary.

His rivals — Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul — have vowed to keep fighting well beyond the Jan. 31 election.

But Romney's political machine is prepared for a long fight. He's already running a multi-state operation looking toward the seven states that have elections in February. He's got staff and more than 300 Republican officials backing him in those states. And he's already running advertisements in Nevada.

Some unaffiliated Republicans say Romney's opponents should give up. They want the GOP to come together and focus on defeating President Barack Obama.

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