COLUMBIA, S.C. — The co-chairman of Newt Gingrich’s presidential primary campaign in South Carolina insisted to HUMAN EVENTS that the former speaker’s breathtaking win (41-to-27 per cent) over Mitt Romney was due primarily to “Newt Gingrich himself.”
In an interview at the Hilton Hotel in Columbia, as Gingrich was concluding his victory speech, former Rep. and U.S. Court of Claims Judge John Napier said that the person most responsible for the dramatic come-from-behind upset was “Newt Gingrich.” Napier explained that it was his onetime House colleague who oversaw “the revival of Ronald Reagan’s winning conservative coalition.”
Napier also said he felt that past doubts about Gingrich among a key part of Reagan’s coalition–pro-family and social conservatives–were largely put to rest because so many leaders of that group in South Carolina rallied to the Georgian’s banner. He specifically pointed to Dr. Bill Monroe of Florence, a much-respected pastor and leader of among evangelicals who came out strongly for Gingrich this week.
Picking up on a controversy he had discussed with HUMAN EVENTS shortly before the polls close, Napier denounced as “criminal” last-minute anonymous e-mails to Gingrich supporters charging with no evidence that the candidate had once insisted that former wife Marianne undergo an abortion–something the former Mrs. Gingrich has never charged herself.
When we noted that another former colleague of his from their House days, former Rep. Bill McCollum, was Gingrich’s chairman for the Florida primary January 31st, and said he was counting on a strong showing in South Carolina to electrify what he said was an enthusiastic campaign in the Sunshine State, Napier replied that his state had done its part and said: “Go Florida!”