Mitt Romney handily won the Florida Republican primary Tuesday night, striding closer to the presidential nomination as the support of women, Hispanics and a broader range of conservatives boosted him in the state.

Tuesday night’s results halted the momentum from rival Newt Gingrich’s win in South Carolina last month and returned Mr. Romney to the familiar position of the race’s clear front-runner.

Many Florida Republicans sought a candidate who they thought could defeat President Barack Obama, with significantly more voters who cited that as their top priority opting for Mr. Romney, according to exit polls.

With more than half of votes counted, Mr. Romney was leading Mr. Gingrich by 47% to 31%.