Certain about uncertainty: The present and future of South Carolina's GOP Presidential primary

Since 1980, South Carolina's "First in the South" GOP Presidential primary was once a vital gateway for the presidential ambitions of Republican candidates from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. That was until last night, when a combination of a wide-open GOP field, voting technology, and competition from states envious of South Carolina's influence upon the nomination process broke that string, leaving the race essentially no closer to resolution than before the campaigns arrived in the Palmetto State.

While John McCain left for the upcoming Florida primary with the bragging rights for having finished first place in South Carolina, his first-place win was hardly conclusive. He only led second-placer Mike Huckabee by a modest 33-30 percent, and only carried three of the state's six congressional districts.

But indecision wasn't just McCain's fate. Each of the other leading GOP contenders left the state with very little change in their standings:

  • Mike Huckabee, desperate for a post-Iowa win, watched his early first-place standing in polls in South Carolina slip away since McCain's win in New Hampshire. As with other states, he leaves here without a much-needed primary victory - one he won't likely get in the upcoming Florida primary.

  • Mitt Romney, the biggest spender of all in South Carolina, bailed in the final two weeks to focus on squeezing out a close win in Michigan, followed by an obscure win in Nevada. His late decision to cut his losses here doesn't take away from the fact that he'd invested heavily here for a year, without results.

  • Fred Thompson, in spite of making South Carolina his sole campaign focus, stumbled along with dwindling voter support and limited campaign cash, and received a mediocre showing in a state chock full of conservative voters who were supposed to be Thompson's base.

Where South Carolina was once a pivotal state where the fortunes of Republican presidential aspirants were once made or broken, this year, the state's GOP primary was little more than a pricey sinkhole. The South Carolina primary did little to nothing to add momentum to good candidates, or help push failing ones out of the race. Overall, the GOP race remains essentially as murky and undecided as it was two weeks ago.

Was this irrelevancy a one-time aberration, or the sign of changing trends that will forever alter the role South Carolina plays in the race for the GOP presidential nominations?

Maybe next time ... stay tuned ...

11 Response to "Certain about uncertainty: The present and future of South Carolina's GOP Presidential primary"

  1. south carolina moye 20/1/08 10:59
    I believe what could happen is that when the convention rolls around it may be a brokered one with no clear candidate. What I am led to think this morning and I have spent hours looking at results from counties across the state is that South Carolina still plays an upper hand at predicting the candidate as in the past. I predict McCain will be the candidate for our party and that as the SCGOP goes so does the nation. Bet you a beer.
  2. Anon 529 20/1/08 21:13
    Maybe this state is getting a clue and changing colors. What no comments about your boy Rudy and his outstanding finish?
  3. Earl Capps 20/1/08 23:03
    529, i didn't mention Rudy because he didn't show in this state. but come to think of it, his standing in the race didn't really change after the South Carolina primary either.

    i'm not sure what those results have to say about this state's political direction. please explain that one, if you don't mind.
  4. Speaker's Mafia 21/1/08 01:23
    I told you so!

    Those who take on the Speaker's candidate go home with the loss.

    Get ready for the Speaker in the Governor's Mansion visiting President McCain at Camp David.

    There will be great gravy and meatballs and pasta for everyone.
  5. Anonymous 21/1/08 07:34
    none of these guys will get elected this fall, you can count on it.
  6. Anonymous 21/1/08 10:30
    john edwards will be our next president, and richardson will be his vice-president. all you facist repugnicunts better get used to it.
  7. west_rhino 21/1/08 11:36
    anon 1030 when November comes and goes, Johnnie Edwards will still be on the outside, unless he will come, repentant and humbly, promising not to upstage Lady McBeth, Hillary. SC will be the straw that breaks the Edwards campaign's back, though it will remain through a painful "Soupy Tuesday" that his meager supporters ought to have been spared.

    Given the candidate's obdurate nature, I don't see him humbling himself enough for Slick Willy's vetting, also Edwards is pretty enough to upstage EX president Clinton, so a VP bid bears low odds, though John Kerry's endorsement of Obama does increase those odds, albeit infinitecimally.

    As to Speaker's cnadidate taking popular vote, one would think that all the SC GOP heavyweights would have scored more than only half of the congressional districts. Checking the numbers, had a some of the chaff been winnowed, we could have seen the 2000 McCain numbers, though, as I understand about 100,000 of the Dems that crossed over for him then will be voting for Hillary (or Barack)
  8. Anonymous 21/1/08 21:47
    could you define 'repugnicunts'...Webster's does'nt have that listed?
  9. Earl Capps 21/1/08 23:14
    2147 - I wasn't sure about what that meant, so I figured I'd leave it up there. At least for entertainment value.

    People say blogs are too much into controlling adverse responses. Me - I like to let a lot of them go forward, so others can see I'm not so big that I can't take a jab or two sometimes.
  10. Anonymous 22/1/08 00:34
    unless they do something to bring some order back to the primary scheduling, south carolina's primary really isn't going to matter for a whole lot in the future.
  11. west_rhino 22/1/08 09:23
    Earl, leaving the invective up is a fine reminder of which one is the real party of hatred, crass class warfare and race baiting that now has a fine politically correct quandry on its hands.

    That quandry does remind of Alabama and Lurleen Wallace's bid for the Governorship.

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