South Carolina looms large

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Ron Brownstein: “Because evangelical Christians comprised 60% of the vote in South Carolina in 2008 (the same share as in Iowa), candidates like Perry, Bachmann and Santorum relying heavily on that constituency are likely to try to compete there, regardless of the order in which they finish in Iowa. To veteran South Carolina Republican hands like Warren Tompkins that increases the likelihood that those religiously conservative voters will splinter again in the Palmetto State — even if the vast majority of them continue to resist Romney. The most plausible way for conservatives to avoid that fractionation is for one candidate to emerge from Iowa as the clear favorite among evangelicals, and the overlapping circle of tea party supporters. But, even with the clear signs of momentum for Santorum, the latest CNN/Time/ORC Iowa survey shows that less than a week before the vote, no candidate has decisively seized that mantle. If conservatives can’t anoint a preferred alternative to Romney in Iowa, it’s not clear they will get another real chance.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.