Three Things to Watch In Today’s South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary Results
CNN’s John Avlon notes that there are three things to watch for in tonight’s South Carolina primary results. Some excerpts:
South Carolina has voted for the eventual winner of the Republican nomination since 1980. And for the conservative candidates looking to stop the inevitability narrative that has surrounded Mitt Romney’s candidacy, South Carolina is a must-win state. Here are three things to watch as South Carolinians vote.
Newt-momentum again? Newt Gingrich is a political Lazarus in the midst of his third rise from the dead here in South Carolina. After a disappointing fourth place finish in Iowa and New Hampshire, many political observers thought the former speaker of the House was finished. But his strong and substantive debate performances have helped shift the winds in his direction once again.
Romney downplaying expectations: Roaring out of a strong broad-based win in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney seemed unstoppable. Some pundits occupied themselves with sorting through his likely VP picks. But a week is a long time in politics, and in the course of one morning, Mitt found out he had in fact lost Iowa to Rick Santorum and fallen behind in some polls. Simultaneously, questions were raised about his self-admitted (but not completely disclosed) 15% tax rate and Cayman Islands investments.
An evangelical bump? Rick Santorum was supposed to get a big bump when evangelical leaders gathered at a Texas ranch and announced their intention to support him.
It was historic and in a state stereotyped as an evangelical bastion, home to Bob Jones University, it was supposed to be a game changer. But so far, no game has changed: Rick Santorum remains stuck in a distant fourth place, according to the polls. There is still time for votes to shift in his direction, but this failure to materialize is a significant question mark hanging over South Carolina as its citizens prepare to vote.
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