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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gingrich in South Carolina

Our chapter on elections and campaigns discusses the presidential nomination process. During the 2012 campaign, Newt Gingrich has found that it is difficult, as The State (SC) reports:

Gingrich also has been abandoned by his presidential campaign staff in South Carolina — including former S.C. GOP chairman Katon Dawson and political consultant Walter Whetsell — who quit and joined Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign.

“He was reasonably popular back (in the ’90s). He was the ying to Clinton’s yang,” Neal Thigpen, a political science professor at Florence’s Francis Marion University, said of Gingrich. “He’s just run into trouble on every front . ... I don’t see him doing all that well here.”

Last month, only 5.6 percent of likely S.C. Republican primary voters said they would vote for Gingrich, according to a poll by Winthrop University. Even fewer — 1.6 percent — said they thought Gingrich would win the nomination.


His most recent campaign reports show he is more than $1 million in debt. The next round of fundraising reports are not due until Oct. 15, and Gingrich declined to say how much money he had raised. Asked if he still was in debt, he said, “A little bit.”

So far, Gingrich’s campaign has been “living off the land,” as Thigpen put it. Gingrich said he was on the road 24 days in September, and he has taken part in every GOP debate, including a nationally televised forum in Columbia last month sponsored by U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint. There, Gingrich captured much of the applause.

Unfortunately for Gingrich, applause does not necessary mean votes.