No Republican candidate for president has won the nomination of the party without winning the South Carolina going back to Ronald Reagan in 1980. With this fact in mind, the candidates attention now turns to South Carolina. Last Friday, Mitt Romney and Governor Nikki Haley are at the Peanut warehouse in Conway, SC. Newt Gingrich is planning a visit to Florence on Tuesday at the Art Trail Gallery. Santorum and Paul are making visits as well.
The main impact that the results in Iowa seem to be having in South Carolina is that it has brought Santorum into the conversation among Republicans in South Carolina. He has visited the state more than Romney and Gingrich and hopes his strong showing in Iowa will be a springboard for him pulling an upset by winning South Carolina.
After Iowa, the media is focusing on New Hampshire but it seems the candidates are focusing more on South Carolina. New Hampshire is in Romney’s backyard and it looks like he will win the state as expected. Romney in New Hampshire may be compared to a major university playing a smaller university in football. If the larger school wins, it was suppose to win while if the larger school loses the contest then it is a major upset with major ramifications for the larger school.
Romney should win New Hampshire so the real question is who will come in second. Can the candidate with the second place showing then turn it to his advantage in South Carolina by coming out with a victory?
The New York Times pointed out in an article on January 3 that the candidates were “happy to cede the state and move on to South Carolina”. McCain is contacting his 2008 supporters to shore up support for Romney and converting those who support other candidates to Romney. If Romney wins South Carolina, it will be difficult for any other contenders to defeat him for the nomination as he will have the momentum of three wins. Romney knows he cannot cede South Carolina to the other candidates as he did in 2008.
The other candidates are pulling out all the stops to derail Romney in South Carolina. Knowing this is his opponents’ strategy, Romney is increasing his presence in the state through increased staff and personal appearances. John McCain stated what is at stake this way: “If Mitt Romney wins here, he will be the next president of the United States.”
Crossposted and adapted from Caffeinated Carolina