South Carolina: A republican battleground
Will it be Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich. Sure there's also Rick Santorum or Ron Paul but the big two are Romney and Gingrich right now. And the final tally is – drum roll please – Gingrich, by an incredible 243,172 votes to 167,297 in favor of Romney. All other GOP candidates were nearly 50,000 votes below Romney's total making this a highly lop-sided finish.
As stated in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution brief from the Associated Press, the finale of the South Carolina primaries Gingrich received the majority of his votes from those conservatives, tea party supporters and born-again Christians. In a state where each primary winner has gone on the receive the republican nomination since 1980 Gingrich must be doing something right.
Exit polls suggested that the debate mattered to voters opinion. Because of Gingrich's success presenting the issues he was given multiple standing ovations. There are those who doubt his credibility though. Although he denounced allegations of an open marriage from Marianne Gingrich's ABC interview, some suggest his ethics are questionable after he was forced from office as Speaker of the House according to Romney in the AJC article, Gingrich, Romney battle to the end in Palmetto State.
Ron Paul who left South Carolina with 78,000 votes, the least of the four, has other plans. In the AJC article, Paul's place in SC uncertain given lighter effort, Paul has decided to follow in the current president's footsteps and focus on the caucus states beginning with Nevada, Colorado and Minnesota. He suspects to spend the most advertising in Nevada and Minnesota. In his speeches, Paul has also accused Romney of his high dependence on banks for donations.
Candidates now look toward the Florida primary. Romney hopes to hold a significant advantage over Gingrich with money on his side.