Just moments after the polls closed in South Carolina at 7 p.m., Fox News and MSNBC called Newt Gingrich as the projected winner.
Fox said Mitt Romney will come in second place.
It wouldn’t be called that way without a significant projected lead for Gingrich, who seemed poised to lose just a week ago. It’s the state whose winner has become the GOP’s nominee in every presidential race since 1980, and it sets up quite a showdown between Romney and Gingrich.
Gingrich was outspent 2 to 1 in the state by Romney and his allies.
What’s left to determine is the race for third and fourth places between Ron Paul and Rick Santorum.
Gingrich will head into Florida, a state where he still faces organization hurdles and a race in which heavy absentee balloting so far is expected to favor Romney, with the wind at his sails – and his third time back from the political dead.