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Gingrich victory throws US primary race wide open

Irish Times [1]
January 22, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich trounced front-runner Mitt Romney in South Carolina yesterday in a jarring victory that indicates the party’s battle to pick a challenger to US president Barack Obama may last months, not weeks.

Mr Gingrich’s come-from-behind triumph in the primary in the conservative southern state injects unexpected volatility into a Republican nominating race that until this week appeared to be a coronation for Mr Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and private-equity chief.

Instead, voters in South Carolina rejected Mr Romney’s pitch that he is the best bet to fix a broken US economy and defeat Mr Obama, a Democrat, in the November 6th election.

Three different candidates – Mr Gingrich, Mr Romney and former US senator Rick Santorum – now have won the first three contests in the state-by-state battle for the Republican presidential nomination to face Mr Obama.

Mr Gingrich’s triumph may lead to a protracted battle of attrition as Republican candidates spend millions of dollars to tear each other down rather than uniting behind a standardbearer to take back the White House.

Full article here [1]