January 21, 2012
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich has surged to a stunning win over former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in South Carolina’s first-in-the-South presidential primary, a come-from-behind victory that signals the GOP White House race – which as recently as a week ago seemed to be Romney’s to lose — is now far from over.
Gingrich’s strong showing is a major upset over Romney, the GOP frontrunner who had been looking to a solid win in South Carolina as a key step toward sealing the nomination. It’s a win that appears to be fueled in large part by what voters perceived as the former speaker’s strong performance in recent debates, according to Saturday’s exit polls – even as Gingrich faced a tumultuous recent few days in the race.
Since 1980, the winner of the South Carolina primary has gone on to win the GOP presidential nomination. That means Gingrich’s primary win is a significant one — and the conventional wisdom that Romney is his party’s inevitable nominee could well be shattered.