2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney (Pic by Gage Skidmore, via Flickr)

Two of the four remaining GOP candidates were out and about in Jacksonville today, making appearances just hours before they go head-to-head in tonight’s CNN debate.

Hundreds turned up at a rally in support of Mitt Romney Thursday morning, held in front of the now-shuttered office of a former printing business. Romney urged supporters at the rally to show up at tonight’s debate, joking that those who couldn’t get tickets should “just storm in.” According to his campaign, Romney also made an appearance at a private housing event in Jacksonville at 8:30 a.m.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was scheduled to speak with local veterans at the University of North Florida (the site of tonight’s debate) on Thursday afternoon.

The most recent polls show Romney ahead of Gingrich amongst Republicans. A Quinnipiac University survey of 1,518 registered Florida Republicans Jan. 19-23 shows Romney in a 45-45 tie in a theoretical November matchup with President Barack Obama. The other three candidates didn’t fare quite as well, with Rick Santorum trailing Obama 49-40, Ron Paul 47-39 and Gingrich 50-39.

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