Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) – After riding into South Carolina on a wave of seeming inevitability, Mitt Romney was dealt a series of blows here that culminated with a disappointing second-place finish in the state's high-stakes primary.
Even before losing to Newt Gingrich by a large margin Saturday night, Romney's team began to look ahead to Florida, where the campaign hoped a big lead in fundraising and on-the-ground organization could help him regain his momentum.
(CNN) - South Carolina voters sent a clear message Saturday to the GOP's Yankee frontrunner: not so fast.
Any hopes Mitt Romney had of bringing a quick end to the Republican presidential contest died in the Palmetto State. Newt Gingrich's easy win capped the worst week of the campaign so far for the former Massachusetts governor.
Charleston, South Carolina (CNN) – Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum finished third in the first Southern state primary, a disappointing showing for the candidate who just days ago was declared the winner of the first 2012 GOP presidential contest in Iowa.
Santorum conceded to CNN in an exclusive interview that the winner, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, "kicked butt" in South Carolina but argued the 2012 GOP nomination fight would be a long race.
Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) – South Carolina primary winner Newt Gingrich told a victory party chanting, "USA, USA," Saturday night that they had captured the heart of his campaign.
"The fact is we want to run not a Republican campaign - we want to run an American campaign," he said.
Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) – Newt Gingrich has won the South Carolina GOP primary, CNN projects, with Mitt Romney finishing second.
Gingrich's projected victory marks a stunning turnaround for a campaign that observers had left for dead - again - just weeks ago.
(CNN) – Polling is open in the Palmetto State Saturday as voters kick off the third round of the Republican presidential nomination. Check back here for updates from our reporters and producers throughout the first-in-the-South primary state of South Carolina. Tune in live at 6 p.m. ET for CNN's live special coverage and follow real-times results at CNNPolitics.com and on Twitter at #cnnelections. Read more here.
The South Carolina contenders are former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.
9:50 p.m. ET - @alexcast: "President Obama is so weak he makes J Carter look strong." newt. he's nailing this. if he can frame weak vs. strong....
9:43 p.m. ET - @alexcast: oh no. news media will try to destroy Ging this week for this food stamp pres/anti-elite-newsmedia riff. that will be jet fuel for him.
9:42 p.m. ET - @adamplevycnn: Florida – 50 delegates. Winner take all. Get ready for a southern brawl. #CNNDebate moderated by @wolfblitzercnn on Thursday will be great.
9:40 p.m. ET - @EWErickson: On the CNN tracker, Gingrich's line about anti-religious bigotry causes FL women voters to respond favorably to him.
9:39 p.m. ET - @alexcast: newt message: my opponents are fine but you know they are not the big leader you need. powerful
9:38 p.m. ET - @YellinCNN: On Gingrich's night, Dems stay focused on Romney eg – RT @DWStweets The central rationale of Mitt Romney’s campaign is cratering.
9:37 p.m. ET - Gingrich said if he becomes the GOP nominee, he will challenge Obama to seven three-hour debates.
"I have already conceded he can use a teleprompter if he wants to," Gingrich added.
9:35 p.m. ET – @EWErickson: Newt Gingrich campaigns for Santorum endorsement.
(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney congratulated rival Newt Gingrich, who is CNN's projected winner in the South Carolina GOP primary.
"This race is getting to be even more interesting," Romney told supporters Saturday night after polls closed.
For the latest developments, follow the Ticker's live blog of the South Carolina primary.
(CNN) - CNN projects Newt Gingrich will win the South Carolina GOP primary.
For the latest developments, follow the Ticker's Live blog of the South Carolina primary.
Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) - Newt Gingrich had all the momentum on Saturday as South Carolinians were voting in their state's Republican primary.
A poll released Saturday morning showed the former House speaker's surge over the last week carrying him past Mitt Romney, who had been the front-runner in the state all month. The American Research Group poll shows Gingrich leading Romney by a 40%-26% margin. ARG's last poll, released Thursday, showed a virtual tie with Gingrich at 33% and Romney at 32%.
It’s a big day for politics in South Carolina Saturday on CNN. Tune in at 4 p.m. ET to see the candidates debate the issues from Thursday night’s edge-of-your-seat debate then, at 6 p.m. ET, CNN’s special live coverage of the South Carolina primary begins. See the results as they come in on on CNN, CNN.com/Live and the CNN mobile apps.
(CNN) - Mitt Romney mocked a conference call President Barack Obama held with supporters to talk about his State of the Union speech by doling out tips at a campaign event on Saturday, the day South Carolina voters head to the polls.
"He was having a conference call with his donors and was soliciting ideas for his State of the Union address. He asked them what he ought to talk about, so I've got some ideas for him," Romney told campaign volunteers in Greenville, South Carolina referencing the president's address to Congress this coming Tuesday.
It's a big day for politics in South Carolina Saturday on CNN. Tune in at 4 p.m. ET to see the candidates debate the issues from Thursday night's edge-of-your-seat debate then, at 6 p.m. ET, CNN's special live coverage of the South Carolina primary begins. See the results as they come in on on CNN, CNN.com/Live and the CNN mobile apps.