Real Time South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary Results

Final Election results of the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary

Advertisements

Newt Gingrich Wins South Carolina and Becomes the Undisputed Alternative to Mitt Romney

Bookmark and Share  In what can only be seen as a setback for Mitt Romney, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich upended the political world with a significant victory in the first in South Republican Presidential Primary.

Despite bad weather in the interior sections of the state which contained some of the most favorable territory for Gingrich, the Georgia Republican overcame a massive, well financed, campaign effort for Mitt Romney that was led by South Carolina’s own Governor, Nikki Haley and upset the perceived frontrunner for the nomination and has gone a long way in establishing himself as the long sought after, undisputed conservative to Mitt Romney.

Early exit polls indicate that Gingrich did surprises well among most all demographics, including women, an important and significant voting bloc which many felt would be problematic for Newt because of  two divorces and a history of marital indefinite.  This problem was compounded by a recent ABC Nightline News interview with Gingrich’s second wife Marianne Gingrich

One factor that cannot be ignored here is that these results were influenced not just by Republicans.  South Carolina has an open primary, which means that Independents can vote in the Republican nomination contest.  By all rights, such open primaries benefit Ron Paul’s more than any of the others.  Those Independent voters were largely responsible for the numbers that helped Ron Paul a third place finish in Iowa and a second place showing in New Hampshire.

Clearly, they did not boost Ron Paul’s fortunes in South Carolina but if they went to Newt and helped form his winning coalition in the palmetto State, it could be a sign that Newt may be a much better general election candidate than some have suggested to this point.

Bookmark and Share

The Complete ABC News Interview With Marianne Gingrich. Just What Newt Needed

 Bookmark and Share   Thursday night’s ABC News hit piece on former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has proven to be a blessing in disguise for his presidential ambitions [see the complete interview below this post]. While it may have stirred the pot, the truth is that if you disliked Newt Gingrich before you saw the interview, you will continue to find reason to dislike him.  And if you liked Newt or were at least open to his leadership direction prior to the interview with his ex-wife, you still like him and are still open to the prospect of his becoming President of the United States.

In other words, the interview that Marianne Gingrich and ABC News conducted in what Marianne admitted was an attempt to derail Newt’s campaign, did nothing to affect people’s opinion of him.  Recent polls would seem to bear that out.  But in another sense, the blatant malicious intent behind Marianne Gingrich and the unethical assault on Newt by ABC News did provide Newt with an opportunity.  An opportunity to successfully rally conservatives together in another widespread denunciation of the liberal media and their obvious liberal biases.  And few candidates have been able to do that better or more often than Newt Gingrich has.  Throughout the nearly 20 debates that the G.O.P. presidential candidates have particpated in, at least a third of all his extraordinary success in those debates is directly related to his ability to prove the media elites to be partisan hacks for the liberal establishment and essentially corporate satellites for the D.N.C.

Between the the timing of the ABC interview and the fact that everything Marianne stated was literally old news that she repeated in the same script she read to Esquire Magazine 10 years ago, not only was this Nightline interview not news, it was also totally unbalanced.

In a court of law, the testimony provided Marianne in her exchange with Brian Ross would have been considered tainted and the unreliable word of a hostile witness.  However; the court of public opinion is far less fair than a court of laws where ethics and rules are followed.  In the court of public opinion, the domain of ABC News, Newt Gingrich did not have an opportunity to cross-examine the witness.  In ABC News’ circus-like, court of public opinion Marianne Gingrich was not pressed to prove her accusations.  She was not asked to show evidence that proved she was telling the truth that she allegedly knew Newt would call her at night while lying with Callista, his eventual wife-to-be,  in the  bed of the Washington, D.C. apartment that Marianne and Newt called home.  But what does the truth have to do with news and journalism?

Ultimately, more people are realizing that not only is Marianne Gingrich an unrelaible character witness, more and more they seeing that the mainstream media is an unreliable source of actual facts and news.  They are seeing that networks like ABC are not even pretending to be non-partisan anymore and that when it comes to double standards regarding liberals and conservatives, the mainstream media is overloaded.  They see how while the deathbed cheating on Elizabeth Edwards by former Al Gore running mate and liberal North Carolina Senator John Edwards, was an  indisputable scandal because it involved a misuse of campaign funds that broke the law, there was not nearly as much attention paid to that breech of conduct and public trust as there is to what is nothing but a personal matter between Gingrich and his ex-wife.

Of course though, the left will accuse the right of having the double standard.

As ABC News reported in the Marianne Gingrich piece, the affair that Newt was having with Callista occurred at the same time Newt was leading the impeachment charge against President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewisnky affair.  The problem is that when you compare apples to oranges, all you have are two different items.  In this case, you have two different issues.  The Clinton impeachment had little to do with B.J. Clinton’s extramarital affair with a White House intern.  Liberals would like you to believe that, but the fact is that issue was not his semen stains on an interns blue dress, it was the fact that the Commander-in-Chief lied under oath to a grand jury.  The semen stains were merely evidence that proved the President was guilty of committing perjury.  That is a little something called a crime.  And according to the Constitution of the United States, certain crimes are impeachable.  Did anyone ever hear of Richard Nixon?

The whole Lewinsky impeachment debate  had little to do with what President Clinton lied about and everything to do with the fact that he lied and broke the oath he swore when giving his testimony involving the Whitewater investigation, and his presidential oath of office…….you know, the oaths in which you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, and swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Newt Gingrich was not on trial for breaking any laws and Marianne Gingrich was not sworn to tell the truth when she took ABC News up on the opportunity to exact revenge on her ex-husband.

Personally, for me, the whole episode did nothing but confirm thatof the mainstream media is sleazy and lacks integrity.

But it did also force me to question one thing about Newt Gingrich.  After seeing the frumpy, shrew-like, vindictive Marianne Gingrich in action, I couldn’t help but wonder what poor taste Newt had in the past.  What he saw in Marianne Gingrich, I will never know, but after listening to her, I can only  thank the good Lord that Newt came to his senses and gave that bitter Biddy what she deserved.

Bookmark and Share

Sarah Palin Endorses Newt Gingrich……to Keep the Race Going, Not for President

Bookmark and Share   During a Tuesday night Fox News interview,  Sarah Palin told South Carolinians that if she were voting in their primary this Saturday, she would cast her ballot for Newt Gingrich. [see the interview below this post]

Technically, that is an endorsement, but it was qualified by her desire to see Newt win in South Carolina expressly for the purpose of seeing that Republicans continue to vet the candidates.  According to Palin;

“More debates, more vetting of candidates because we know the mistake made in our country four years ago was having a candidate that was not vetted, to the degree that he should have been,”.

She added;

“I want to see that taking place this time because America is on this precipice — it’s that important. We need this process to continue.”

On January 9th, Sarah Palin’s husband Todd, came out and directly endorsed Newt when he released the following statement;

“Newt Gingrich is a true leader, which he has proven not only since the beginning of his campaign, but throughout his career,”

Not long after that, Palin had offered great praise for Rick Santorum and his consistent conservatism.   For a while it looked like she might be leading towards a full-fledged endorsement of Santorum.  But that was not the case.

This recent quasi-endorsement of Gingrich though, is the first time that Sarah Palin has actually suggested that a group of voters come out to vote for a specific Republican presidential candidate.  But it is clear that her call to arms in South Carolina was merely meant to produce a result that would force the Republican nomination to forge ahead and continue testing the candidates.  As a Palinite, I found myself appreciating Palin’s sentiments.  It is one which I myself expressed when early on in the process, I participated as a spectator who was giving all the candidates a chance to woo me over.  While I had my favorites, I did not want to merely give my endorsement away.  I wanted the person I endorse to earn the nomination and prove themselves.  Since then,  I don’t know if any candidate has really earned my endorsement, but based upon the issues and the approach that I have heard each of the candidates claim they would take reagrding those issues, I did endorse Newt Gingrich.  However, I have no problem with him still having to work for the nomination and truly earn it.

Palin is right.  In the end, the tougher this process, the better our candidate will be…..whoever it is.

Meanwhile, the Gingrich campaign did not waste a moment in exploiting the qualified endorsement by Palin.  Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond told NBC News .

“We think its a pretty darn clear call to arms,”

Newt’s camp believes it is a call to arms directed at conservatives who many believe can derail the nomination hopes of Mitt Romney if only they got behind one of his opponents instead of splitting their support between three alternatives to Romney.  In the case of Gingrich, he believes that he is the conservative that has the best shot to consolidate that conservative support to win the nomination and then defeat President Obama.

Shortly after Palin’s pitch to South Carolina voters, Gingrich posted the following twitter message;

Newt Gingrich

  newtgingrich  Newt Gingrich

Thanks @sarahpalinusa for throwing your support my way in the South Carolina primary. Watch the Video:  http://youtu.be/xNgRHqvY1z0  #withnewt

Over at Conservatives4Palin.com, one of the leading web-based, pro-Palin organizing networks, some Palinistas were not ready to accept that Palin still won’t be running for President herself in 2012 and were quite adamant about the fact that Sarah’s statement was not endorsement of Newt but rather an endorsement of the process continuing.  And some even suggested that she wants it to continue because Palin may still actually  jump in and run;

According to Min Max

“Look, Romney is NOT the right candidate but neither is Newt. Non of them come even close and if you think a debate between Newt and BO would be something to watch, you ain’t seen nuttin’ yet.  Sarah will rip him apart with a wink and a smile.   Friends, you absolutely HAVE to hold the line!”

One C4P participant wrote;

“The longer it takes, the longer she can wait to make her move into the race to take the rest of the delegates in the rest of the states. It is a beautiful strategy.”   

Others were realistic and excepted Palin’s statement for what she actually meant.

tjd4life for wrote:

“She is right! This thing has to continue. We don’t need a coronation right now. If you live in SC, the first thing I would tell you to is vote your conscience. Always do that, but if you want your vote to count and you are in the non-Romney camp, you have to vote for Newt. No if’s and’s or but’s.”

Other comments from Palin supporters applauded her positioning of Newt as the candidate to beat Romney with.

friskyness responded to Palin’s move this way;

“Newt is the only one that can beat Obama!  His debates are spectacular! Our goal is to oust Obama. We can’t do it with mushy Romney!”  

What will be quite interesting here, is the speed in which things can change if Newt does actually win South Carolina.

Although Mitt Romney will still be the likely nominee, if Gingrich does upset Mitt in the Palemtto State primary, the political world will most certainly be talking about the Republican nomination contest being a totally new and different race.  And it will be.  But until Newt can capitalize on his support and momentum it will all be for naught.

Right now Newt Gingrich needs a clear message and theme that can connect with voters and allow them to better relate to him.  He needs to show that he is a steady political hand who is not vulnerable to the mistakes of political novices.  Establishing an effective campaign organization that controls the story and message, while raising the money, doing the proper opposition research, and developing rapid response damage control teams, will all help Newt exploit any success that he could have from a surprise win in South Carolina.  However, the former Speaker of the House is still not convinced that the most basic aspects of conventional campaign management apply to him.

As someone who endorsed Newt for President, I hope he is right.   Unfortunately, I just don’t think he is and while Sarah Palin’s praise of him will help, Newt still does not realize how much his lack of discipline is failing to maximize the benefits that Palins’s words afford him.

Bookmark and Share

Gingrich Steps Back and Romney Steps Up

Bookmark and Share    It is most likely too late to make a difference for Newt, but the one time Republican presidential frontrunner has walked back his class warfare inspired attacks on Mitt Romney from the left and denounced a Super PAC for their use of an over the top anti-Romney mini-drama that went after Mitt for his days at Bain Capital.

I previously explained that despite my endorsement of Newt Gingrich, I could not deny my disappointment in his decision to focus more on taking Mitt Romney down with a typical liberal argument, than he was to build himself with conservative oriented, savvy solutions.  The tactic was so disturbing that I considered withdrawing my endorsement but in the end decided that the reasons for my endorsement of Newt have not changed.  However I did make clear that Newt needed to denounce the pro-Gingrich Super PAC airing the anti-Romney movie and the movie itself.  I even went so far as to claim that his unfortunate decision to go the route he did, signaled the end of his campaign and stated that  “I don’t mind defending the candidate I support, but when I have to find good reason to defend my own reasons for continuing to support that candidate, that candidate’s campaign is over.”

Newt apparently came to a similar conclusion.

After opening a campaign headquarters in Orlando, Florida, Newt announced that he was  calling on Winning Our Future, the Super PAC behind the movie to “either edit out every single mistake or pull the entire film”.

Two days earlier, Gingrich publicly stated that his own attack on Romney’s business record were not appropriate.  He told an audience in south carolina that given the backdrop of President Obama, it is impossible to legitimately challenge free market conduct without it being taken out of proper context.

I for one am glad that Newt realized and publicly acknowledged his mistake.  At some point in the future, when the issue is less fresh on the minds of voters, when it comes up again, it will be easy to squash by simply reminding people that even Newt agreed the ad was a dishonest portrayal of Mitt Romney.  However, the damage this did to Newt is undeniable.  It is a hit that he can hardly afford.  And while his numbers in South carolina are looking a tad better than they were a day or two ago,  nationally Newt is still taking hit.  But a new Rasmussen poll shows in South Carolina alone, Newt may be recapturing the momentum.

The latest Rasmussen Reports poll finds Romney ahead with 28% support and Gingrich back on the rise with 21% of the vote.  Rick Santorum on the other hand is trending downward.  He has fallen 8 percentage points and is now tied for third place with Ron Paul at 16%.

If this trend continues, South Carolina will offer Newt Gingrich his very last chance to become an enduring challenger to Mitt Romney.  A win by Gingrich, or anyone else other than Romney in South Carolina will dramatically change the course of this nomination contest.  And if Gingrich can defeat Romney in South Carolina, it will be a new race in Florida and beyond.

Meanwhile the Republican attacks against Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital have prompted the Romney campaign to launch its first ad defending that record. In addition to reasserting the claim that Bain Capital created far more jobs than may have been lost in any one venture, the spot also takes a jab at Gingrich and Texas Governor Rick Perry for their attempts to attack Governor Romney for his work at Bain.

Bookmark and Share

What Is Shaping the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary?

Bookmark and Share   One of the most unique things about South Carolina in regards to the early presidential nomination contests is the state’s substantial military demographic. It accounts for nearly 400,000 military veterans or 12 percent of the state’s voting age population.  Then there are about another additional 34,000 active duty service members who are stationed on military bases in South Carolina.

With such a large percentage of military voters, you would expect that based upon the claims that Ron Paul has more support from the military than any other candidate, Ron Paul is a shoo-in to win the South Carolina primary.  However, Dr. Paul is currently in fourth place, far behind Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum, respectively.

So who does have a leg up on these military voters?

In 2008, John McCain,  a bona fide war hero and second time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, essentially began to lock up the nomination with a big win in South Carolina.  He was closely followed though by Mike Huckabee.  Mitt Romney came in a distant fourth behind Fred Thompson, and the candidate supposedly beloved by the military, Ron Paul came in fifth place by failing to even get 4% of the vote.

2008 South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary Results

John McCain 147,733 33.15% 18
Mike Huckabee 132,990 29.84% 6
Fred Thompson 69,681 15.63% 0
Mitt Romney 68,177 15.3% 0
Ron Paul 16,155 3.62% 0

This timed around, while it is hard to say who will come in second to Mitt Romney, but there is no denying that Romney will take first place honors.

In addition to a good organization and a well financed campaign, he has an advantage over other candidates within the South Carolina Party apparatus which Romney unofficially gained access to when he got the official endorsement of the state’s Governor, Nikki Haley.

But the race for second place will be exciting.

That contest should come down to Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

And while that decision will be significantly influenced by South Carolina’s large military vote, even that voting bloc finds their top priority to be jobs, not national security.  With a 10% unemployment rate, even the military is beginning to fear the prospect of benefit cuts and the effects of President Obama’s call to downsize the armed forces.  It is this mix of military related economics which happens to be giving Mitt Romney an edge in the Palmetto State.

While he receives high marks from these military voters on economic matters, they also understand that Romney is strong on defense and his well designed national security agenda receives great approval from this voting bloc, much more so than even Ron Paul who many of these voters feel would weaken our defenses and directly hit them in their pockets at the same time.  All of this bodes well for Romney help works to his advantage as the significant socially conservative voting bloc in South Carolina end up splitting their vote between Santorum, Gingrich, and Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Meanwhile, Rick Perry has launched his own ad aimed at coalescing the military vote behind him.

His hope is that between them and a portion of social conservatives, he might be able to hammer together a small coalition that is big enough to provide him with a surprise showing.  But the prospects for that happening are getting dimmer by the day.

Last week, an American Research Group poll noted that between the month’s of December and January, Romney had gained as many as 9 percentage points, while Newt Gingrich lost 9 percentage points and Rick Santorum gained 23 percentage points.  That trend would indicate that Santorum had what George H.W. Bush called the “big mo”.  But more recent polls have shown that Santorum’s surge has leveled off and the Mitt Romney continues to pick up some steam.  Newt had stopped hemorrhaging support in South Carolina but his new negative ant-capitalist strategy may not provide him with the boost he needs to overcome Romney.  He may now not even be able to surpass Santorum, who Gingrich narrowly defeated in New Hampshire.  As for Rick Perry, his movement in any direction has been minimal.

While no one can guarantee that Mitt Romney will in South Carolina, right now he must be the odds on favorite and as for the rest of the field, well it’s hard to say with certainty that Gingrich is out and that Santorum will pull of a second place finish, but that is likely and also likely is a a Ron Paul fourth place finish, followed by Rick Perry and rounding off the back of the pack, former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman.

Bookmark and Share

Is TEA Party Favorite Niki Haley Readying to Endorse Herman Cain or Mitt Romney?

Bookmark and Share    While endorsements of one politician by other politicians do not exactly change the minds about those candidates who they like or dislike, some endorsements are more important than others. Such is the case with South Carolina Governor and TEA movement favorite Niki Haley.

In addition to having influence among some TEA movement leaders who have committed themselves to her and the limited government, constitution respecting, conservative cause she fights for, she is also the influential leader of a state whose early primary could be a tipping point in the quest to name a Republican presidential nominee. Not only does her approval garner much media attention, it also provides for significant organizational strength from the state Republican Party and TEA movement activists.

Furthermore, given the timing of Haley’s state’s G.O.P. presidential primary, which precedes the important delegate rich Forida primary by one week, her endorsement could help to make winning in Sunshine State a very real possibility for the candidate who has won South Carolina. And winning both of those states could be just enough to kill the forward momentum of those who lose in both states.

So while the endorsement’s of other Governors have value, some, like Nikki Haley, have more value than others.

With this in mind, in recent weeks, both Mitt Romney and Rick Perry have been egaged in a sort of endorsement battle involving evryone from Governors, to state legislators, county execs and congressional leaders but the focus is on Governors.

Last week on the day that Mitt Romney announced the surprise endorsement of former Minnesota Governor and presidential rival Tim Pawenty, Romney seemed to be on the road to consolidating establishment support behind him. But on that same day, not long after the Pawlenty announcement , Rick Perry announced that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was endorsing him.

Comparing the two, while Pawlenty is a former Governor who is losing influence as time goes by, Jindal is an incumbent Governor, running for reelection and seen as a rising Republican. That was game, set, match for Perry that day.

Shortly after that, Romney announced that he received the endorsement of  27 New Hampshire legislators. Perry subsequently announced twenty one South Carolina GOP Legislators were endorsing him for President.

Romney then announced former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman’s endorsements of him, but Perry scooped Romney again.  this time by announcing that he was endorsed by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. That one hurt. Nevada is considered fertile territory for Romney and a loss in that state’s relatively early contest would be a setback for Romney.

Now most recently, Perry announced that he was receiving conservative Governor Sam Brownback’s endorsement. That one kind of put Perry ahead in the endorsement battle.

But now we learn from from the National Journal’s Tim Alberta that the critical endorsement of South Carolina’s Niki Haley, looks like it will be awarded to Mitt Romney.

During a speech to grass root Republicans and Party leaders at an annual G.O.P. Leadership Conference in Mackinac, Michigan, Governor Haley called next year’s contest “the most important presidential election we’ve had in a long time,” and she told the audience that need to get behind a republican running for President “who puts substance ahead of style.”

Governor Haley said. “We’re not going to vote for personality — we saw where that got us last time,”. She added “We need a true executive to get us back on track.”

After her official remarks, in an interview with Hot Line On Call, Niki Haley explained that she is looking for a candidate who has a proven business background and is “An executive — that means business people”.

She further added;

“What I’m looking for is someone who understands the debt, someone who understands that we need to be energy independent, someone who will… get people back to work.”

Of the existing G.O.P. presidential candidates, Governor Haley’s description could point two one of only two people………….. Mitt Romney or Herman Cain.

A part of me believes that her language which stresses an aggressive focus on the keywords and phrases “a true executive” and “business people”,is most apropos for TEA Party language used to describe Herman Cain. But there are two consideration here that lead me to believe she actually means Mitt Romney.

The first is this. If she intends to endorse Herman Cain, doing so sooner rather than later would behoove Herman Cain. It would give him access to much needed campaign fundraising capabilities. It would also provide some of the credibility to his candidacy that he needs in order to make many voters who are reluctant about how far Cain go in the primary battle, and alow them to view him as a more viable candidate than they currently see him to be.

So if Niki Haley intends to endorse Cain, the time for that was yesterday, before the Florida debate and its weekend straw poll.

The other consideration is that Mitt Romney was there for Nikki Haley when she needed it during her campaign first for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and then again during her gubernatorial election. He stumped with her, and he provided significant financial contributions to her campaign. This is not to say that Haley owes this to Mitt Romney, but after first Sarah Palin who was also there for Haley, she kind of does owe it to him. Furthermore, Haley’s focused language on being an executive and business leader, fits quite well with Romney’s own painstaking attempts to paint himself as a private sector business leader, and not a career politician.

So while I will not say for sure that Nikki Haley’s endorsement is for Romney instead of Cain, I will say that Romney does look more likely to be the candidate that she gets behind. Whoever she means though, it doesn’t sound like she is referring to Rick Perry.  and if Romney does get her backing, it will be more than a slam dunk for him . It’ll be a three pointer that leaves Perry saying “ouch”.

Bookmark and Share
%d bloggers like this: