Monday, December 5, 2011

A primary focus on South Carolina

UPDATED: 10 A.M.: Good morning, and welcome to O-pinion, the Observer's home for perspective and discussion on the issues of the day. I'm Peter St. Onge, associate editor of the O's editorial pages, and I'll be your host today.

Here's a roundup of what people are talking about this morning:

The primaries are coming, and the GOP's eyes are turning to ... South Carolina? Maybe. The Associated Press reports today that Newt Gingrich understands what Republicans have known for three decades - the winner of the South Carolina primary goes on to win the GOP nomination.

Some years, that's simply a matter of the Palmetto State giving a nod to the clear GOP frontrunner, but this year, S.C. should play a pivotal role in nudging someone to the front. The Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses are up for grabs, with Gingrich leading Ron Paul and Mitt Romney in a Des Moines Register poll this weekend. New Hampshire will likely give the nod on Jan. 10 to former neighbor Mitt Romney, who leads comfortably there.

UPDATE: Those numbers could change quickly, however, with another potential boost for Gingrich today. FOX 5 in Atlanta is reporting that Herman Cain will endorse Gingrich, and that details for an announcement are being worked out. ABC's The Note, however, is reporting that no such endorsement will come today.

Should Gingrich take Iowa and Romney grab New Hampshire, that leaves South Carolina to perhaps sort things out on Jan. 21. Gingrich is making a big push there, opening five offices and hiring nine staffers, the most of any Republican candidate. The latest polling shows him in a strong position, leading Romney 38-15 in an Insider Advantage poll taken last week before Herman Cain dropped out of the race.

Romney had seemed to overcome South Carolinians' reluctance - he led in earlier polls before Gingrich's national surge. Romney abandoned the state in 2008 before finishing fourth in the primary won by John McCain. Romney went on to lose to McCain in Florida and drop out 10 days later.

Romney seems undecided thus far about South Carolina. He only has three paid S.C. staffers, according to AP, and he hasn't visited the state much. Expect Romney to continue a recent push in Iowa, where he had his first TV spot last week, and where voters consider him the most likeable and electable in a general election. If Romney can win Iowa and New Hampshire, that would mute the impact of a Gingrich win in S.C.

The Weekly Standard says that Romney TV spot left no doubt Romney is "playing to win" Iowa by appealing to Iowa's conservatives.

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne says Gingrich's emergence makes sense, if you understand Republicans.

And finally, here's Ron Paul's fun, new in-your-face TV ad, up in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Closer to home

In today's Observer editorial, we wonder (along with others) why the Democrat-led N.C. Board of Elections prematurely shut down an investigation into Gov. Bev Perdue's campaign. A Wake County grand jury issued indictments to campaign staffers last week.

Our letters to the editor focus today on what to do about our economic hard times, including one approach that comes from way back in 1621.


Garth Vader said...

Your embed of the Paul ad isn't quite right - it's cutting part of it off. Here's the original:

kantstanzya said...

"We wonder why the Democratic led N.C. Board of Elections prematurely shut down an investigation into Gov. Bev Perdue's gubernatorial campaign."

Seriously? You wonder?

And one approach from LTTE on what to do about economic hard times comes from 1621? Wrong. The approach (socialism) of 1621 almost led to the starvation of the Plymouth Colony. The solution was found in enterprise capitalsim and the rewards of hard work and incentivization of individual effort which saved the colony.