McCain defeats Romney in Florida primary

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), the two-term chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, won the Florida primary on Tuesday.

McCain had 36 percent of the vote, followed by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney with 31 percent of the vote. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who campaigned heavily in Florida, only had 15 percent of the vote and is expected to endorse McCain as early as today.

McCain has long been known for his strong support of Indian issues. But his recent efforts to restrict off-reservation gaming and increase federal regulation of tribal casinos -- along with his criticism of the Cobell Indian trust plaintiffs -- ruffled feathers in Indian Country.

Romney is often accused of switching his positions. When he was running for the U.S. Senate in 1994, he supported gaming efforts by the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts..

But as governor, he opposed efforts to legalize Class III gaming. He now opposes all forms of gaming -- even in Indian Country -- according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

The shift puts Romney more in line with the Mormon Church as he faces questions about his ability to stand independent of his religion, which teaches that Native people descend from a "lost" Jewish tribe. The church forcibly placed 20,000 Native children, mostly Navajos, in Mormon homes over 50 years.

Get the Story:
McCain Beats Romney in Florida (The Washington Post 1/30)
McCain Defeats Romney in Florida Vote (The New York Times 1/30)

Relevant Links:
Mitt Romney -
John McCain -

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