Romney in Fla., rivals in earlier-voting states

By BRENDAN FARRINGTON and KASIE HUNT | November 29, 2011 | 2:40 AM EST

MEDLEY, Fla. (AP) — If there's any Republican presidential candidate who can afford to spend precious time and money in Florida, it's Mitt Romney.

Romney is campaigning here Tuesday while his rivals focus on Iowa's caucuses or the early primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Florida is the only early primary state Romney is visiting this week, little more than a month before voters start weighing in. Florida votes Jan. 31.

Any plausible rival probably needs to win at least one earlier-than-Florida primary to stand a chance of competing with Romney.

Newt Gingrich is spending three days in South Carolina this week. Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman are campaigning in New Hampshire. Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann are both in Iowa. Herman Cain is scheduled to make stops in Michigan and Ohio.