With Gingrich Win in South Carolina, He Wins ... Iowa?
The former U.S. Speaker trounces Mitt Romney in South Carolina, which makes Santorum's victory in Iowa -- however late -- all the more important.
Former U.S. Speaker Newt Gingrich trounced Mitt Romney in the South Carolina primary less than 24 hours after GOP officials finally acknowledged that Rick Santorum -- and not Romney -- won the Iowa Caucus.
Gingrich's victory in South Carolina proved that reports of his campaign's death back in June were decidedly premature. The polls Saturday night had barely closed when the country's major news outlets projected Gingrich the winner.
With 95 percent of the vote counted, Gingrich was at 41 percent to Romney's 27 percent, with Santorum at 17 percent and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) at 13 percent, the Associated Press reported.
Had Romney won in South Carolina, as he looked on his way to accomplishing just a week ago, Iowa's mishandling of the Caucus vote counting and its aftermath would have been less important.
But if you don't think Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn's rather reluctant declaration late Friday that Santorum won the state's caucuses mattered, it is now.
Count on hearing this from Romney detractors over and over as the campaigns head to Florida: Romney has now lost two of the first three votes for the Republican nomination.
With another weak showing by Santorum, the primary now appears to be a two-man race.
From Huffington Post:
Gingrich, who was until very recently something of a one-man campaign, is riding a wave of genuine momentum that is buffeting the Romney machine. Gingrich has emerged as the fighter that many Republican voters want to see defeat President Obama. Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney has looked weak and uninspiring.
Former Sen. Bob Smith (R-N.H.), a surrogate for Gingrich, said his win would "set in motion a real conservative surge now that will take us through the primaries."
"This is a movement," Smith said. "This is a cause to change the direction of America and get back to the conservative values of Reagan."
The crowd at Gingrich's victory rally in the downtown Columbia Hilton was caught off-guard by how quickly the results were announced, but cheered enthusiastically. An hour later, as Romney was shown giving his concession speech on one wide-screen TV in the corner of the room, the crowd chanted, "Nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, goodbye!"