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South Carolina Delays the Inevitable

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Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney greets supporters after addressing a primary night victory rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, Jan. 10, 2012. (credit: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney greets supporters after addressing a primary night victory rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, Jan. 10, 2012. (credit: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

South Carolina, like other early primary states, enjoys a somewhat undeserved influence on Presidential politics. Frankly, the overall political opinion of South Carolina is completely ignored except for once every four years, and even then, it’s only for a week or so.

However, one of those times was this last weekend and Newt Gingrich made the most of it, scoring an upset win over frontrunner Mitt Romney in the South Carolina GOP primary.

South Carolina gets a lot of attention because it has been the springboard for past comebacks. Most recently John McCain began his 2008 surge by scoring an upset there. I am sure the Gingrich campaign is hoping for a similar surge to come out their win.

However, the key difference between Gingrich of 2012 and McCain of 2008 is organization. Gingrich would like to use South Carolina as a springboard, but the simple fact of the matter is that his campaign is not organized enough for the long haul fight that pundits purport this nomination will necessitate.

Consider this, Gingrich isn’t even on the ballot in Virginia, a major state in the upcoming battle, and failed to get on the ballot in Missouri as well.

That problem is less about the number of delegates available in those two states and more about how weak the national campaign machinery is of the Gingrich campaign. That is the key reason that South Carolina did not crown a new front runner, it delayed the inevitable.

Now the conversation will revolve around how the extended battle will affect the Romney campaign.

Will the drawn out fight keep his name in the press and therefore raise his national profile, or will the drawn out fight expend too much of his valuable campaign resources for the big fight with President Obama?

Frankly, that is a question that no one will know the answer to until the first Wednesday in November, when it’s finally all over.

The only thing we know for now is that the GOP Primary race isn’t over. The length of the race won’t change who becomes the GOP nominee, but it may end up greatly affecting the big race in November.

Keep a special asterisk on South Carolina. One way or the other, that state may have played a far bigger role than we think in the entire Presidential election.
About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

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