Why Rick and Ron Skipped Out of Florida

There's nothing at stake for Paul and Santorum tonight

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    NEWSLETTERS

    While Florida votes, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul are in Nevada.

    While Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich await primary returns tonight, the other two candidates for the GOP presidential nomination will be 2,500 miles away.

    It's not that Ron Paul and Rick Santorum don't want Sunshine State support, it's just that they've given up on it - at least for primary season. Florida's 50 delegates will all go to the winner of today's contest, and while most expect that to be Romney, and some believe it'll be Gingrich, nobody is predicting Santorum or Paul.

    Paul and Santorum were both in Colorado today and plan to finish up the night in Nevada - Santorum in Las Vegas and Paul in nearby Henderson. They're already eyeing Nevada's Republican Caucus on Saturday.

    The Christian Science Monitor, expecting a Romney win in Florida, predicted that Paul is likely to win more delegates to the RNC Convention in Tampa this week than Gingrich. Paul campaigned in Maine, where delegates chosen in the ongoing caucus are apportioned, and then went west to seek support in Nevada. Gingrich, by focusing on Florida, may come up empty.

    Santorum left Florida after Thursday's debate, returning to his Pennsylvania home to tend to a sick daughter and to prepare his tax returns. He never came back.

    “All our eggs were never in Florida, we planned to continue on indefinitely,” Santorum spokesman J. Hogan Gidley said.

    Sen. Marco Rubio didn't blame Santorum or Paul for not fighting to the end in Florida, but said the state's GOP voters will pick the eventual winner of a two-man race.

    “The winner of Florida is in all likelihood going to be the nominee of our party,” Rubio told CNN.