- South Carolina Primary «
South Carolina Primary
South Carolina Primary Results-Jan. 21, 2012
"Upset by Gingrich Shifts G.O.P. Campaign" - New York Times (Late Edtion)
"Gingrich Upends Race" - Washington Post
"Gingrich Routs Romney" - The State
"A Gingrich rout" - The Post and Courier
Ballot. Speeches and Statements: Gingrich | Romney | Santorum | Paul | SCGOP | DNC || Final Delegate Numbers
Results by: County | Gingrich | Paul | Romney | Santorum | Registered Voters in County | Turnout
Former Gov. Mitt Romney seemed well positioned heading into South Carolina. In addition to appearing to win the first two contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, he also had the endorsement of Gov. Nikki Haley, and there was talk that he might sweep the first four contests.
However, events intervened and voters had their say. In the days leading up to the primary, the field narrowed by two candidates. Former Jon Huntsman, who had been showing little strength here, withdrew on January 16 (he endorsed Romney). On January 19 former Gov. Rick Perry withdrew and endorsed former Speaker Newt Gingrich. Also on January 19 the Republican Party of Iowa reported that contrary to the initial report of Romney winning by eight votes, former Sen. Rick Santorum had won by 34 votes. That announcement put a crack in Romney's inevitability.
Gingrich came to South Carolina off a fourth place finish in Iowa and a fifth place finish in New Hampshire, but he had been targeting first-in-the-South South Carolina as a firewall of sorts. Gingrich put in strong performances in the debates on January 16 and 19, most notably in the January 19 debate when he successfully fended off a question on interviews given by his ex-wife. Meanwhile, Romney seemed unable to get past questions about whether and when he would release his income tax returns. On the plus side Romney did secure endorsements of five large newspapers. Former Sen. Rick Santorum, meanwhile, had put more time into the state than any of the other candidates, and he worked hard to be seen as the consensus conservative alternative to Romney. Former Rep. Ron Paul put little effort into the state.
A record number of voters, 605,710 (21.60% of the 2,804,231 registered voters), turned out; the previous high number was 573,101 in the 2000 primary. Gingrich carried 43 of 46 counties including 10 counties with more than 50 percent of the vote. Romney won in Beaufort (49.96%), Richland (37.95%) and Charleston (36.01%) counties. Santorum's best counties were York (24.04%) and Lancaster (23.17%). Gingrich's strong showing, described as a rout in the headlines, put an end to the Romney inevitability paradigm.