COLUMBIA, S.C. — With a just-completed Clemson Palmetto (S.C.) poll showing 20 percent of likely voters in today’s Republican presidential primary undecided, many political pundits are convinced that the race could go to either Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney.
One of Gingrich’s top supporters in the Palmetto State argued otherwise, stating that those who are undecided are more likely to fall into the camp of the former House speaker than that of the former Massachusetts governor.
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“These [undecided] voters are conservative, and Mitt Romney has always had the problem of proving he is genuinely conservative,” Mike Campbell, son of the late Republican Gov. Carroll Campbell, told HUMAN EVENTS hours before the voting is scheduled to begin.
Campbell, a top political operative in his own right, explained that “Newt Gingrich has always had conservative credentials that are unquestioned” and that it would be easier for him to win over those who say they are undecided at this late date.
In ’04, Campbell was a state co-chairman of Mike Huckabee’s nearly-successful primary effort in South Carolina. His late father was a premier “mover and shaker” behind the presidential candidacies of Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and both George Bushes — all of whom won fiercely contested primaries in South Carolina and went on to become Republican nominees for president.
The younger Campbell had begun the primary season as a supporter of Jon Huntsman, but when the former Utah governor dropped out of the race, he quickly signed on with Gingrich (who came to the U.S. House with his father back in 1978).
Legend has it that Carroll Campbell so knew the political “lay of the land” in his state that he could predict the percentages of his candidates who won the presidential primary. Would Mike Campbell attempt the same prediction, HUMAN EVENTS asked?
“No, I won’t do that,” he said with a laugh. “It will be close, but I think Newt will win.”