A sudden surge of support for Newt Gingrich this week has made it increasingly likely the GOP primary will still be competitive after South Carolinians finish heading to the polls Saturday.
That’s according to Chip Felkel, a longtime GOP consultant who has stayed neutral in this year’s race. He says this is a last chance for Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Gingrich has not yet won a primary, while Santorum’s support nationally is down to single digits after a win in the Iowa Caucuses earlier this month.
“We’re in a playoff, sudden death, for a couple of these guys,” said Felkel, a big fan of golf analogies, “We’re at the end of regulation. We have played 18 and we’re almost tied. Now we have to see who doesn’t blink when they have to make the putt here.”
According to recent polls, Gingrich is now favored to win the state. If he pulls it off, “It goes on and on,” Felkel told South Carolina Radio Network. “Certainly it goes to Florida and may go beyond that. I think Gingrich has a good bit of support in Florida. I also know Romney has spent a good deal of money in Florida already. I also know that Santorum has limited resources and ground game.”
Only a week ago Romney was polling ahead of Gingrich by double digits. However, two strong debate performances by Gingrich and the defection of Rick Perry supporters led to a sudden rise in support this week for the former Speaker of the House.