Newt Gingrich upset GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney in South Carolina tonight, beating him by what will likely be a comfortable margin in the the state’s Republican presidential primary.
This marks the second state lost by Romney in less than 24 hours, as the Iowa Republican party officially declared at midnight Friday that Rick Santorum had won the state’s caucus. Meanwhile, Santorum put up a disappointing showing in South Carolina, according to CNN exiting polls, with just 20 percent of evangelicals voters supporting him — fewer even than Romney. Santorum had pinned his hopes to this bloc.
Newt Gingrich now heads into Florida — a state where he was once up 20 points over Romney — with a head of steam. “Thank you SC! Help me deliver the knockout punch in Florida,” Gingrich tweeted. But despite its large population, the state lost half of its delegates to the Republican National Convention because it changed its primary date without authorization. Moreover, many people have already voted in early voting in Florida, which diminishes the impact of Gingrich’s new momentum.
Ironically for Romney, his campaign released a web ad this week with the tagline: “On Saturday South Carolina Picks a President.” The ad may still be correct, but that likely wouldn’t be much consolation to Romney if it is: