COMMENTARY | On Saturday, Newt Gingrich made his biggest step toward the Republican presidential nomination by winning the South Carolina primary by a wide margin.
Gingrich received 40 percent of the vote, beating out former governor Mitt Romney, who received 27 percent, and Rep. Ron Paul, who had 13 percent. Gingrich was able to achieve such a high margin of victory by performing strongly in his two previous debates.
Earlier in the campaign Gingrich was the subject of a number of attacks by fellow candidates. He expertly defended himself and strengthened his position as a result. Romney had a double-digit lead in the polls after his New Hampshire win, but Gingrich flipped the results on their heads to win the primary handily.
With the victory, the three elections have gone to different candidates, the first time in this current system of primary elections that has occurred. The South Carolina primary is a good measuring stick for candidates, as the winner has gone to receive the nomination every year since 1980.
The favorite for the nomination appears to change by the day. But Gingrich seems to really have a leg up on the competition. He isn’t the flashiest candidate, but his ability to keep cool under pressure seems to have won the voters’ approval. The Florida primary is next and a similar showing by Gingrich should put him in the clear for the nomination.
This race appears to be down to Gingrich and Romney and it will be interesting to see if Paul or Rick Santorum decides to drop out. If they do, their endorsements could be crucial to determining the nomination. I feel if Paul drops out he would probably endorse Gingrich, while Santorum would probably be in Romney’s court.
Any more of a push for Gingrich should be enough, but if Romney gathers the support of the other remaining candidates it could come down to the wire. So far, it’s probably too early to expect anyone else to drop out, but if it does happen it will have a major effect on the remainder of the campaign.
Gingrich is in the driver’s seat, all he needs to do is drive safely, and he will be debating Barack Obama come summertime.
Source: CNN Political Unit, Gingrich: S.C. ‘decided to be with us in changing Washington,’ CNN.com