Newt Gingrich has pulled off an extraordinary double comeback with his projected win in South Carolina. Last year it looked like his campaign had imploded, with the en masse resignation of top aides after he went on holiday with his wife, a vacation that he described as long-planned. It led to questions being raised over the seriousness of his campaign, and only seemed to compound concerns over his judgement.
Gingrich saw a surge in support in December, but his support fell away again ahead of the Iowa and New Hampshire polls, where he came in fourth in both states. Most commentators dismissed his chances at this point, and with Mitt Romney leading Gingrich by close to double digits heading out of New Hampshire, it looked like the former Massachusetts might be able to effectively sow the nomination up by early February.
But with more than half of the votes counted in South Carolina, Gingrich has delivered a painful blow to Romney. With about 70 percent reporting, Newt gingrich had 40 percent of the vote, with Romney trailing a distant second with 27 percent. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is expected to finish third, with Ron Paul fourth.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
Political Wire blogger Taegan Goddard put it very well:
"By any measure, it's a devastating loss to frontrunner Mitt Romney who once led in the polls by double digits hoped to finish off his rivals in the Palmetto State. If Gingrich can keep his momentum going into Florida's primary at the end of the month — a big question — the GOP race could once again be up for grabs."