(TAMPABAY) — Two weeks from today, Florida Republicans have an opportunity to effectively end a disappointing presidential primary season and focus the nation on a pivotal general election. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the winner of the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, is the candidate best prepared to make the Republicans’ case that change is needed in the White House.

The Republican Party is experiencing an identity crisis as fiscally conservative, socially moderate voices are too often shouted down by the more extreme tea party activists and social conservatives. That explains much of the ambivalence about Romney as Republicans flirted with momentary flashes such as Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain.

The maneuvering before South Carolina’s primary on Saturday offers another opportunity for candidates to appeal to the most conservative elements of the party. It will be up to Florida Republicans to steer a course that could attract independent voters seeking an alternative to President Barack Obama in November.

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