The candidate targeted President Barack Obama and complimented his
"If you look at the four of us, we are proof that you can come from a
wide range of backgrounds and in America you have a chance to try to
make your case no matter what the elites think in New York and
Washington," he said.
The former speaker of the House of Representatives staged a surprising
comeback months after his campaign staff quit, weeks after poor showings
in other contests, and days after one of his ex-wives brought his
extramarital affairs to the forefront.
But the candidate's personal life did not keep voters in this southern
conservative state from casting ballots for him, like Trent Shealy.
"He does have baggage, but I don't think he's afraid to call other
people out and I want to keep hearing that," said Shealy.
Nursing student William Bouknight predicted a Gingrich win.
"This is definitely a common sense state and I think he's the most
common sense one we got," he said.
The Republican race now is wide open, with three different candidates
taking the Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina nominating contests.
Some in the party hope the next primary in nearby Florida will be
decisive. Voter Jeff Fitzharris:
"If it drags out longer than that, then I think they're detracting from
each other," he said.
finisher Rick Santorum, a socially conservative former senator from
Pennsylvania, this week was named the winner of the Iowa caucuses,
instead of taking second place as originally announced.
"Three states, three winners! What a great country!" he said.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, long considered the
Republican frontrunner, took second place here.
"We are now three contests into a long primary season and a hard fight
because there is so much worth fighting for," he said. "We've got a long
way to go and a lot of work to do and tomorrow we're going to move on to
Gingrich and his rivals will now focus on the Florida primary on January