South Carolina Primary Wrap-Up

A story I just wrote for my News Reporting class. 

“Thank you South Carolina! Help me deliver the knockout punch in Florida. Join our Moneybomb and donate now,” tweeted former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich Saturday, shortly after being declared the winner of the South Carolina Republican Primary.

Since 1980, South Carolina has acted as a bellwether in the Republican race for president. Saturday’s race, however, marks the first time in history that a different candidate won the first three primaries—with former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum claiming victory in the Iowa caucuses, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney winning the New Hampshire race.

The 12-point win over Romney was a rapid reverse of the former speaker’s luck, thanks largely in part to two strong debate performances in South Carolina last week. In the debates, he appealed to the state’s conservative voters, who seemed convinced that Gingrich would make a daunting opponent to Pres. Obama. Mitt Romney, however, seemed unshaken.

“The choice within our party has also come into stark focus. President Obama has no experience running a business and no experience running a state. Our party can’t be led to victory by someone who also has never run a business and never run a state,” Romney said. “Our president has divided the nation, engaged in class warfare and attacked the free-enterprise system that has made America the economic envy of the world. We cannot defeat that president with a candidate who has joined in that very assault on free enterprise.”

Political analysts argue that with three unique “frontrunners,” the evidence is strong that Republican voters are dissatisfied with the choices in a year when they are hoping to unseat a vulnerable Obama. With former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush stating that he will not make an endorsement of any candidate, every vote counts for these men when Floridians head to the polls on Jan. 31.