The Los Angeles Times sent the following news alert at 7:34 p.m. EST:
Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, won the South Carolina GOP presidential primary Saturday over Mitt Romney, pulling off a stunning upset that seemed unlikely only days ago, according to the Associated Press which called the race based on exit polls.
Buoyed by two strong debate performances, Gingrich overcome last-minute allegations about his personal life that threatened to derail his building momentum. The newly contentious race for the nomination now shifts to Florida.The Washington Post adds that Mr. Gingrich's victory will lengthen the GOP primary, and it also suggests that Mr. Santorum and Ron Paul, the other two Republican candidates, are nothing more than window dressing.
Gingrich’s strong showing is a major upset over Romney, the GOP frontrunner who had been looking to a solid win in South Carolina as a key step toward sealing the nomination. It’s a win that appears to be fueled in large part by what voters perceived as the former speaker’s strong performance in recent debates, according to Saturday’s exit polls – even as Gingrich faced a tumultuous recent few days in the race.
Since 1980, the winner of the South Carolina primary has gone on to win the GOP presidential nomination. That means Gingrich’s primary win is a significant one -- and the conventional wisdom that Romney is his party’s inevitable nominee could well be shattered.Salon echoes a similar theme, noting that Mr. Gingrich has done more than exact a measure of revenge on Mr. Romney.
After getting blown out in Iowa on January 3, the former House speaker all but announced he was transforming his presidential campaign into a one-man crusade to exact maximum vengeance on Romney, whose Super PAC allies had crushed Gingrich’s December surge with a barrage of negative attacks. Gingrich then suffered through a predictably miserable week in New Hampshire before moving to friendlier turf in South Carolina, where he completed one of the more improbable turnarounds in modern presidential campaign history on Saturday night with a startlingly lopsided victory over Romney.One is left to wonder how Mr. Romney's attack dogs will act now.