Mitt Romney journeyed to South Carolina last week looking for a knockout blow in the “First in the South GOP” presidential primary” and an easy path to the Republican presidential nomination.
Instead, the former Massachusetts governor stepped into a “conservative right-cross” in the form of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich– who captured 40 percent of the vote to Romney’s 28 percent. Gingrich’s strong performances in debates Myrtle Beach and Charleston are credited for fueling his strong victory in Saturday’s primary.
Clemson University political science professor Dr. David Woodard says Romney’s huge loss illustrates that the former Massachusetts governor continues to have problems with the GOP’s conservative base. Woodard says there is no doubt that Romney’s loss in South Carolina is a significant setback for his candidacy, but he still has time during the remaining primary season to right the ship, but he will have to show that he can win in GOP stronghold states.
AUDIO: Woodard says Romney’s problems continue in red states
Next up is the Florida primary on Tuesday, January 31. SuperPACs allied with Romney have already spent $4.9 million in television ads in the Sunshine State, according to data from the Federal Elections Commission.