South Carolina Primary Winners and Losers

The eventual GOP nominee has never lost in the Palmetto State.

ByAmy Bingham
January 19, 2012, 6:12 PM

January 20, 2012 -- intro:

It is the state that's never been wrong. Since its inception in 1980, the South Carolina primary has chosen the eventual Republican nominee every year.

And based on the millions of ad dollars that the four remaining GOP candidates and their supporting Super PACs poured into the Palmetto state, they were extremely aware of how important it was to win in Saturday's South Carolina primary.

If history is any indication, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum should have had a leg up in the Palmetto state. No presidential candidate has ever won the South Carolina GOP primary without already having won in either Iowa or New Hampshire. Meaning Gingrich's upset victory was unprecedented in the state primary's 22-year history.

Despite historical precedence, Gingrich - who came in fourth in both Iowa and New Hampshire - took the top spot in South Carolina with 41 percent of the vote, beating Romney by 13 percentage points. Santorum finished third with 17 percent and Ron Paul came in fourth with 13 percent of the vote.

Here's a look back at the past winners and losers of the South Carolina Primary:

quicklist: 1title: 2008: John McCain and Barack Obamatext:

In the hotly contested 2008 GOP primary race, John McCain squeaked by with a narrow win in South Carolina, so narrow, in fact, that he set a record for amassing the lowest percentage of votes out of any South Carolina primary winner. Only 33.2 percent of Republican voters cast their ballot for McCain. Mike Huckabee, who took first place in the Iowa caucus, came in a close second with 29.8 percent.

Leading up to the South Carolina primary on the Democratic side, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were neck-and-neck, with Obama having won in Iowa and Nevada, and Clinton riding her victory in New Hampshire. As the first state with a large African-American population to vote in the 2008 primary, South Carolina was vital to Obama, who ended up winning with 55 percent of the votes.

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