As seemingly expected, former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, has won the Republican primary in South Carolina and rather handily tonight.
With 99% of precincts reporting, Mr. Gingrich had 40% of the vote to Mitt Romney's distant second at 28%. Rick Santorum came in a solid third with 17% and Ron Paul came in last of the four still running at 13%.
It is a solid win for Mr. Gingrich. No doubt about that.
But I wonder how much of it is a "sympathy" vote after the ABC interview with the former Mrs. Gingrich number two, Marianne? And the subsequent dressing down Mr. Gingrich gave to CNN's John King for even bringing it up?
I think that John Pitney, Jr. over at The Corner at National Review sums it up best in this posting. And the list that will now more than ever be spotlighted is given a brief overview:
Expect renewed attention to troublesome aspects of his public record: his past support for a value-added tax, his overdrafts at the House Bank and his other ethics problems, his denunciation of deficit hawks as “the perfectionist caucus,” his past skepticism about the Founders, and many others.
How will Mr. Gingrich handle legitimate questions on those and other issues. The phrase "I should not have said FILL IN THE BLANK." can only be used so much before people get a little annoyed. And those are the supporters. Imagine a whole nation of voters in a general election?
Its time for Mr. Gingrich to celebrate this win because they are going to get harder and much costlier to come by.
And now, on to Florida.