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Mitt Romney claims victory in Florida

Erik S. Lesser / EPA

Former Massachusetts gov. and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney celebrates his victory with his wife Ann in the Florida Republican Presidential Primary at the Tampa Convention Center.

Jonathan Ernst / Getty Images

From governor's son to presidential contender, a look at the life of Republican Mitt Romney.

Based on exit poll data and preliminary returns, NBC News projects that former  Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will win the Florida primary, which was limited to only registered Republican voters. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the winner of the Jan. 21 South Carolina GOP primary, will finish a distant second, followed by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in third, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul in fourth.

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Brian Snyder / Reuters

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney hugs his wife Ann as they hear him declared the winner of the Florida primary by television networks in Tampa.