Newt Gingrich did his version of the comeback kid last night, upsetting the once and future frontrunner in the South Carolina primary. Mr. Gingrich won 40% of the vote while Mr. Romney picked up 28% of the vote. Rick Santorum, the failed senator from Pennsylvania managed to sell his social conservative family values story to 17% of South Carolinians while my nine-year old’s favorite, Ron Paul, took 13% of the vote.
The candidates head to Florida where the outcome may be just as surprising. South Florida is basically made up of West Indians, Cubans, and misplaced northerners. Mr. Romney may do well there, as long as he doesn’t admit to being a New England Patriots fan. The “I love capitalism” message should sell among my Spanish and English speaking Caribbean people.
On the other hand, the social value spiel will sell in parts of central and all of north Florida. Mr. Gingrich, who is southern bred, is showing a penchant to connect to southerners in a way that would make Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan proud. He’ll thump the Bible without thumping it; talk about guns without having to show he ever shot one.
Mr. Santorum will get a polite welcome, but north Florida is the south for all intents and purposes; therefore, Mr. Santorum will be on the receiving end of a welcome deserved by your average carpetbagger.
Man, do I miss Tallahassee. May have to head down there to cover the Florida primary in person. I give the slight edge to Mr. Gingrich.