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|Newt Gingrich keeps GOP presidential race alive with S.C. victory|
|by Ryan Watkins|
|January 23, 2012 11:56|
The voters of South Carolina reminded the country that the GOP primary process if far from decided after overwhelmingly voting for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in the country's third primary contest of the 2012 election season.
Gingrich, the former congressman from Georgia, secured some 40 percent of the total vote, according to the Associated Press. Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, claimed just 27.8 percent, a distant second.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Minn.) finished third with 17 percent and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) rounded out the top four with 13 percent of the state's primary votes.
Gingrich's presidential campaign has had its share of ups and downs. In June of last year, several high profile staff members resigned in protest of the campaign's direction.
In May, Gingrich was the target of a “glitter bomb” by LGBT rights activists for his stance on marriage for same-sex couples and gays and lesbians in the military. Two days before the S.C. primary, Gingrich's second wife, Marianne Gingrich claimed her ex-husband asked her for an “open marriage.”
With Santorum and Romney in a virtual tie in Iowa, Romney's New Hampshire win and Gingrich's success in South Carolina, each of the country's first three GOP primary contests has seen a different winner.
Up next for the candidates is the Florida primary on Jan. 31. Gingrich, after his S.C. win, has opened a nine point lead on Romney in the Orange State, according to a Real Clear Politics analysis.
Top photo: Newt Gingrich (via Facebook)
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