In a surprising upset, Newt Gingrich swept the South Carolina GOP presidential primary yesterday, leaving everyone else stunned. After finishing fourth in Iowa and New Hampshire, most assumed that Gingrich was doomed.
As reported by CNN.com, Gingrich had 40% of the vote, with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney getting only 27% of the vote.
Gingrich said, in his victory speech, that he wanted to thank
“everyone in South Carolina who decided to be with us in changing Washington. It is very humbling and very sobering to have so many people who so deeply want their country to get back on the right track — so many people who are so concerned about jobs, about medical costs, about the everyday parts of life, and who feel that the elites in Washington and New York have no understanding, no care, no concern, no reliability, and in fact do not represent them at all.”
Not Just About the Debates
Gingrich discounted the idea that his surge is a result of only his recent debate performances, saying that the votes are because he’s clearly resonating with voters. As he said, “It’s that I articulate the deepest-held values of the American people.”
It’s interesting to note that since 1980, the winner of the South Carolina primary has won the Republican nomination. However, this is the first time since 1980 that three different GOP candidates have won the three contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Clearly understanding the implication of this strange race so far, Santorum said, in response to Gingrich’s win,
“This is a long race. As a result of what happened here tonight, this race isn’t going to be over next week or the week after. This is going to be a long one, and it’s going to be the best thing that could happen for whoever the eventual Republican nominee is, because that nominee is going to be sharpened by steel.”
Eyes on Florida
The elections will now be turning towards Florida, where Tampa’s debate on Monday will start the race for that state.