Gingrich Pounds Romney in South Carolina

Former House Speaker Turns GOP Race Upside Down

Celebration Time: Newt Gingrich basked in the attention of supporters in South Carolina.
getty images
Celebration Time: Newt Gingrich basked in the attention of supporters in South Carolina.

By Forward Staff

Published January 21, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich swept to a powerful win over Mitt Romney in the South Carolina Republican primary Saturday, throwing the GOP race wide open.

Gingrich rode a surge powered by his impressive performance in debates that catapulted him into the lead among voters in the strongly conservative state.

With 99% of the votes counted, Gingrich led by a 40%-to-28% margin. Gingrich is likely to win almost all of the 25 delegates at stake in South Carolina, and will likely lead in the national count after the votes are counted.

“We believe that if we unleash the American people we can rebuild the America we love,” Gingrich said. “With your help we are now moving on to Florida and beyond.”

Romney conceded defeat, but predicted he would win as the election moves across the country.

“This is a hard fight because there’s so much worth fighting for,” Romney told cheering supporters. “This election is for the soul of America.”

Read analysis about the upcoming battle in Florida and the role of the Jewish vote by Forward opinion editor Gal Beckerman and reporter Josh Nathan-Kazis.

He sought to quickly put South Carolina behind him and focus on President Obama, who is extremely unpopular among GOP voters.

“Our president has attacked the free enterprise system that makes us the envy of the world,” Romney said.

Rick Santorum, who finished third with 17% of the South Carolina vote, congratulated Gingrich on his big win. But he vowed to stay in the race for Florida and beyond.

He suggested that conservatives may eventually tire of Gingrich’s fireworks and settle on Santorum as the steady choice.

The GOP election now moves on to Florida, where the primary will be held on January 31. Many analysts believe that Romney has an advantage in Florida because he has been running TV ads there for weeks.

Under Florida’s early voting system more than a quarter of all Republican voters may have already cast their ballots, analysts said.

The South Carolina results confirmed the results of opinion polls that suggested Gingrich surged ahead of Romney in the final days and hours before the vote. Exit polls revealed more than half the voters in South Carolina decided who to vote for in the last few days.

The nearly 15-point win was a massive victory for Gingrich, who stumbled through the first two contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. It would also strip Romney of the cloak of invincibility he once wore as the presumptive nominee.

Besides his problems in South Carolina, Romney also turned out to have narrowly lost Iowa to Santorum, a final count showed, reversing his Election Night 8-vote lead there.

Gingrich is riding a last-minute surge fueled by his combative performances in two debates, especially the final one Wednesday night in which he ripped into CNN host John King for kicking off the debate with a question about his ex-wife’s tawdry claim that he wanted an “open marriage.”

In the same debate, Romney fumbled a question about his tax returns, saying “maybe” when asked if he would release them.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.