By the Left Coast Rebel
(SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATES)
I'm on the Left Coast (PST) so I'm a bit late to the South Carolina GOP results tonight. Polls close in thirty minutes; I'll be updating this post as news (and numbers) start to roll in soon. Hopefully RightKlik will check in here as well tonight. Also, check out this must-read the Temple of Mut, The Results of the South Carolina Primary, Fully Explained.
South Carolina primary live results (hat-tip Freedom's Lighthouse):
Update 6:33 ET: As I'm sure you know, the media is calling it for Gingrich tonight. I read an article (New York Times?) that claimed Gingrich's surge is due mainly to his CNN smack-down Thursday night. I find this sad. As a nation, and as voters, we should ALWAYS choose the candidate with the best ideas and the most integrity, not the latest red-meat debate performer.
Update 6:38 ET: Dan Riehl has an excellent post up, "Romney Exposed as the Weak Candidate that he is." I'm not a Newt fan but I would love to see Romney place third tonight. Also, remember how the neo-conservatives like Karl Rove were cheer-leading Romney's Iowa/New Hampshire win as historic?
More from Riehl:
Consequently, if the polls are accurate and Newt Gingrich is declared the winner of the South Carolina primary before 11:40 PM tonight, Romney would effectively be the first GOP front-runner in history to lose both Iowa and South Carolina within one 24 hour period.Ha.
Update 6:45 ET: My friend Chris W. at The Libertarian Patriot is live blogging South Carolina GOP primary tonight, too. Also, The Hill has a neat Live Results Map here.
Update 7:00 ET: Polls closed! Fox is (already?) calling it for Newt Gingrich. Megyn Kelly just said that Santorum and Paul are battling away for third.
Update 7:02 ET: Fox has a huge banner GINGRICH WINS SOUTH CAROLINA PRIMARY. No numbers, though, more at Memeorandum. Fox (cable television) also just ran a graphic showing exit poll responses indicating South Carolina GOP primary voters believe the top candidates that can beat Obama are as follows:
But I thought Obama-beatability was exclusive Romney territory?
Update 7:16 ET:
% Reporting: 0%
Update 7:25 ET:
% Reporting: 1%
I'll check back in when the numbers aren't so off-the-map. Be sure to check into TLP for real-time results.
Update 7:43 ET: Fox just called third for Santorum, fourth for Paul:
% Reporting: 4%
Update 7:50 ET:
% Reporting: 6%
Update 8:00 ET:
I'll have video of Romney's South Carolina primary speech later.
% Reporting: 10%
Update 8:03 ET: Mitt Romney is taking on Newt Gingrich going-Occupy, "The Republican party doesn't demonize success!"
% Reporting: 15%
Update 8:15 ET: I guess you can call it a Gingrich-rout:
% Reporting: 25%
Ron Paul is speaking now, "If you win elections and win delegates, that's how you promote the (liberty) cause!"
Update 8:20 ET: RightKlik checking in...
Rick 1, Mitt 1, Newt 1
I'm surprised Newt won so big in SC. Intrade had his probability of winning at about 7% as recently as a week ago. I seriously considered buying up all of Newt's shares at that point, but I never expected Newt to crush Romney like this.
There's a lot of discussion in the conservosphere about how and why Newt's debate performance has impacted his momentum. But almost everyone agrees that the debates have been the decisive factor.
I think the take home message is that the "Not-Romney" sentiment is still very strong, and that sentiment has coalesced around Newt as a consequence of Newt's forceful repudiation of the abusive anti-conservative media establishment.
That said, I still think it's Romney's nomination to lose. This might be the last Not-Romney win for quite some time.
As I noted earlier, the next five contests will be in Romney-friendly territory. Newt has an advantage in the south, but we're going to be out of the core southern states for a while now. Florida is up next, but Florida is more of a regional hybrid with swing state tendencies, and Florida's Jeb Bush, a popular ex-governor, is expected to endorse Romney soon.