Former House speaker Newt Gingrich has won a decisive victory in South Carolina following strong performances in the last two Republican debates. Winning 40% of the vote with 244,113 total votes, Gingrich easily defeated runner-up Mitt Romney, who received 168,152 votes, finishing at 28%. Rick Santorum took third, followed by Ron Paul.
The results in South Carolina should reinvigorate Gingrich’s campaign, which had all but stalled out after disappointing finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.
This year marks the first time that a different candidate has won each of the first three nominating contests.