The Fix: South Carolina

Democrats have their eye on Nikki Haley, but unseating her won't be easy

Democrats have their eye on Nikki Haley, but unseating her won't be easy

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) will kick off her reelection campaign later this month with the help of some of the biggest names in the Republican Party.

To hear Democrats tell it, she's going to need it. Republicans, meanwhile, aren't outwardly concerned about her chances. "I'm confident she will win a by a bigger margin than 2010," predicted Jon Lerner, a top Haley strategist.

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The Fix's South Carolina special election contest winner!

There are actually two winners in South Carolina's special election.

One is Mark Sanford, who defeated Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch by about nine points Tuesday in the 1st district. The other is Fix reader "thelibertarianhugh," who came closest to predicting the outcome of the race!


A victorious Mark Sanford Tuesday night. (Rainier Ehrhardt/AP)

We received nearly a hundred submissions, none closer than "thelibertarianhugh," who predicted a 54.5 percent to 45.1 percent Sanford victory. Sanford won 54.0 percent to 45.2 percent.

If you are "thelibertarianhugh," send an email to chris.cillizza@wpost.com and we will arrange to send you a signed copy of "The Gospel According to the Fix."

Congrats and thanks to everyone who participated!

Mark Sanford's greatest hits (and misses)

Mark Sanford's greatest hits (and misses)

Few politicians have experienced the high and lows Mark Sanford has been through in his career. On a day the former governor is hoping will close with a return to elected office, we take a look back at Sanford's biggest hits and misses.

2002: Wins governorship, unseating a Democrat

Sanford toppled then Gov. Jim Hodges (D) in a competitive race, skyrocketing to the state's top job after just six years in the House. He was reelected decisively in 2006, rose to the rank of Republican Governors Association chairman, and was even being mentioned in GOP circles as a possible future presidential candidate in 2012. For a period, he seemed like one of the GOP's brightest rising stars.

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5 things to watch in the Sanford-Colbert Busch special election

5 things to watch in the Sanford-Colbert Busch special election

Election Day in South Carolina is here!

One of the most memorable campaigns in recent years comes to an end today, with voters headed to the polls for the 1st district special election between Mark Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Polls close at 7 p.m. ET. We'll have news for you over on Post Politics and analysis right here on The Fix once a winner is called. And for on the ground coverage throughout the day, follow our Post colleague Karen Tumulty. In the meantime, below are five of the keys to the race. What did we miss? The comments section awaits!

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The Seinfeld-ian elements of the South Carolina special election

The Seinfeld-ian elements of the South Carolina special election

Today's South Carolina special election tells us nothing.

Here's how the coverage of special elections in the House usually goes: In the absence of any other races, the campaign is the subject of much coverage -- including by us -- and mined for any nugget that might be able to tell us something important about the national political environment. (People are forever citing the Ron Lewis upset in Kentucky in 1993 as an early indicator of the 1994 GOP landslide, but that was almost 20 years ago!)

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Mark Sanford might win on Tuesday. That's good news for Democrats.

Mark Sanford might win on Tuesday. That's good news for Democrats.

Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford is the momentum candidate heading into Tuesday's special election in the state's 1st district. Should he win, it's a bit of short-term pain for the potential of long-term gain for House Democrats.

Yes, you read that right. Losing a potentially winnable seat in a special election might wind up helping Democrats nationally more than emerging victorious would.

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Mark Sanford is down. But he's not out.

Mark Sanford is down. But he's not out.

It's not all that much fun being Mark Sanford these days. Yet, winning isn't out of the question for him.

Such is life in South Carolina's one-of-a-kind 1st district special election. The race has gotten away from Sanford in the last two weeks. He's begun to resemble a fighter on the ropes for whom simply surviving the bout against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch looks like a challenge.

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Elizabeth Colbert Busch to appear on South Carolina ballot twice

Elizabeth Colbert Busch to appear on South Carolina ballot twice

One thing many people haven't noted about the upcoming South Carolina special election race between Mark Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert Busch? The Democrat will appear on the ballot twice.

In March, Colbert Busch obtained the Working Families Party's endorsement and ballot line -- in addition to her status as the Democratic nominee. Her vote total will be a combination of votes for those two party lines. (To the right, you can see what the official ballot looks like -- with her name listed twice.)

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Oh, Mark Sanford

Oh, Mark Sanford

Fix rule of politics: It's never a good thing for your campaign when you take out a full-page ad in a local paper explaining why you trespassed on your ex-wife's property. Like, ever.

But, that's exactly what former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford did over the weekend in the Charleston Post and Courier. (Thanks to NBC's Ali Weinberg for first surfacing the ad.)

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Mark Sanford's most important week

Mark Sanford's most important week

If Mark Sanford is going to pull off a political comeback culminating in a return to elected office, he'll need the next seven days to go smoothly.

Make no mistake, Sanford is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination in South Carolina's 1st district special election. But the unpredictability of a special election runoff means he's not a lock.

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Mark Sanford's 1st-place finish doesn't guarantee a runoff win, history shows

Mark Sanford's 1st-place finish doesn't guarantee a runoff win, history shows

Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford was the top vote-getter in Tuesday's 1st District Republican primary. What does that say about his chances in the April 2 runoff?

An examination of the 11 House runoff elections in South Carolina dating back to 1998 shows that the candidate who finished first in the primary won the runoff seven times, which amounts to a 64 percent success rate. The following data come from the South Carolina Election Commission:

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Stephen Colbert on sister's House race: I hope what I do 'doesn't sully her good character' (VIDEO)

Stephen Colbert on sister's House race: I hope what I do 'doesn't sully her good character' (VIDEO)

Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert praised his older sister Elizabeth Colbert Busch on Thursday, touting her credentials for a South Carolina House seat as he expressed hope that his own professional activities won't tarnish her character.

"It's natural for her to run because she has skills and something to offer society," Colbert said on NBC's "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon." "I am professionally ridiculous. So I just hope that what I do for a living doesn't sully her good character."

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The 10 most interesting states in politics

The 10 most interesting states in politics

On Tuesday, we asked Fixistas to undertake a very important mission: To tell us why your state is the most interesting state in politics.

Once again, you came through in spades.

We had some great entries for our contest. Below, we're highlighting the 10 best entries and (accordingly) the 10 most interesting political states — a designation that will surely go down in the history books for all 10.

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Mark Sanford set to run for Congress again

Mark Sanford set to run for Congress again

Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford (R) is prepping his political comeback and is planning to announce he will run for the congressional seat of Sen.-designate Tim Scott (R-S.C.), according to a strategist with knowledge of Sanford's plans.

The strategist confirmed an announcement will come soon. The news was first reported by CNN's Peter Hamby.

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Nikki Haley appoints Rep. Tim Scott to Senate

Nikki Haley appoints Rep. Tim Scott to Senate

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) announced Monday that she will appoint Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) to the Senate.

Scott will replace Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who is leaving the chamber in January to head up the conservative Heritage Foundation.

"It is with great pleasure that I am announcing our next U.S. senator to be Congressman Tim Scott," Haley said. "I am strongly convinced that the entire state understands that this is the right U.S. senator for our state and our country."

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Nikki Haley's short list includes Tim Scott, Jenny Sanford

Nikki Haley's short list includes Tim Scott, Jenny Sanford

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has narrowed her list of potential Senate appointees down to five -- including the state's former first lady Jenny Sanford.

A person close to the process confirms that the five names under "active consideration" are Sanford, Rep. Tim Scott, Rep. Trey Gowdy, former state attorney general Henry McMaster and Catherine Templeton, the director of the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

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The case for Tim Scott

The case for Tim Scott

The choice of who will replace Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) for the next two years rests with one person and one person alone: Nikki Haley.

And it's much harder to handicap an appointment than an election.

But when it comes to the choice before Haley, one candidate quickly stands out as making a whole lot of sense to join the upper chamber: Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

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Gov. Nikki Haley to fill DeMint's seat by appointment

Gov. Nikki Haley to fill DeMint's seat by appointment

South Carolina law dictates that resigning Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-S.C.) seat is to be filled by an appointment -- specifically, one made by Gov. Nikki Haley (R).

DeMint announced Thursday that he will resign in January to become the next head of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Haley's appointment will serve until the next general election, which in South Carolina is in 2014.

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Primary results: Nikki Haley-backed candidate beats Haley foe in South Carolina

Updated at 11:23 p.m.

Horry County Councilman Tom Rice, who got the late backing of Gov. Nikki Haley (R) in the GOP primary runoff in South Carolina’s new 7th district, defeated former lieutenant governor Andre Bauer for the GOP nomination Tuesday.

Rice’s victory comes just days after Haley got involved in the race. Bauer ran in the same GOP governor primary that Haley won in 2010, and it’s clear that bad blood remains between the two.

Rice led Bauer 56 percent to 44 percent with 95 percent of precincts reporting.

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The Fix South Carolina primary prediction contest: We have a winner!

The South Carolina primary was long on drama with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich roaring back from behind to score a double-digit victory over former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.


Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks as his wife Callista, right, looks on during a South Carolina Republican presidential primary night rally, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, in Columbia, S.C. Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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Why the tea party is responsible for Newt Gingrich

Why the tea party is responsible for Newt Gingrich

We may not be attributing Newt Gingrich’s rise to the tea party. But maybe we should.

Even as the movement’s influence in the GOP appears to have waned over the past year, there remains one major remnant of what happened in 2010: anti-establishment fervor.

The tea party spurred momentum and turnout for the GOP two years ago, but it also caused it some headaches in the primaries, turning aside candidates who were clearly favored by the party establishment in favor of conservative wild cards that went on to mixed results in November.

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Obama campaign keeps focus on Mitt Romney, says he’s weakened

Mitt Romney may not be the clear frontrunner in the GOP presidential race any more, but that doesn’t mean President Obama’s campaign is going to let up on him any time soon.

Despite Newt Gingrich’s momentum in the GOP race, Obama’s campaign is keeping the focus on Romney, arguing in a memo released today that the former Massachusetts governor’s loss in South Carolina betrays weaknesses in his candidacy and that he’s got a tough road ahead in the Florida primary next week.

“The bottom line is this: the more voters learn about Romney, the more unfavorably they view him,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina wrote.

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Five lessons learned from the South Carolina primary

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s convincing win in the South Carolina primary race is still sinking into the collective political consciousness but there are already a few lessons we’ve learned from the vote.


COLUMBIA, SC - JANUARY 21: The image of Republican presidential candidate, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is projected on a screen at a primary night rally as he is announced as the winner of the South Carolina primary January 21, 2012 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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South Carolina undercuts Romney’s electability argument

South Carolina undercuts Romney’s electability argument

The South Carolina Republican Party’s mantra is: “We pick presidents.”

Voters in Saturday’s primary felt the same way, but their idea of who was most electable differed starkly from their predecessors in the 2012 GOP presidential race.

By the end of the contest Saturday, exit polls show Mitt Romney’s reputation as the most electable Republican candidate took a severe blow.

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Live-chatting the South Carolina primary

Polls closed at South Carolina at 7 p.m. tonight in the first in the South primary. Now the fun really begins.


Palmetto State flag. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
We will be live-chatting all night below. On tap: Exit polls, candidate speeches and other hilarity. Come hang out with us! It will be fun, we promise.

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How Newt Gingrich’s past marriages may be helping him in South Carolina

How Newt Gingrich’s past marriages may  be helping him in South Carolina

The re-rise of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s presidential candidacy in South Carolina has spawned any number of fascinating storylines.

But none is more amazing than how Gingrich’s tempestuous past personal life — highlighted by his second wife’s allegations that he asked her to participate in an “open marriage” — appears to have helped rather than hurt him in the final days before the South Carolina primary vote.

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South Carolina primary: Fix prediction contest!

Think you know how today’s South Carolina’s primary is going to turn out? Want to win an official Fix t-shirt? (Who doesn’t?)

It’s time for the Fix prediction contest! In the comments section below offer your prediction for the finish of the top four candidates — with percentages. As a tie-breaker, predict total turnout for the South Carolina primary.

Iowa GOP declares Rick Santorum winner of the Iowa caucuses

Iowa GOP declares Rick Santorum winner of the Iowa caucuses

The Iowa Republican Party late Friday declared Rick Santorum the winner of the 2012 Iowa caucuses.

The party earlier this week issued the final canvassed results of the Jan. 3 race, which showed the former Pennsylvania senator overtaking Mitt Romney by a 34-vote margin. But in doing so, it noted that results from eight precincts weren’t certified, which led to confusion over whether it was officially declaring a winner or left the race as a virtual tie.

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Mitt Romney’s rough week — in one graph

Mitt Romney’s rough week — in one graph

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney started this week as the clear frontrunner in both South Carolina and nationally. He ended it hoping to eke out a win in the Palmetto State on Saturday amid talk that conservatives were, finally, lining up behind former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

In between were two debates at which Gingrich outshone Romney and considerable chatter about when (or if) the former Massachusetts governor would release his tax returns.

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Newt Gingrich, South Carolina front-runner?

Newt Gingrich, South Carolina front-runner?

A consensus seems to be emerging among connected South Carolina Republican political operatives: Newt Gingrich is the favorite to win the Palmetto State primary on Saturday.

“Now that [Texas Gov. Rick] Perry and [Minnesota Rep. Michele] Bachmann are out of the race, conservatives are attempting to rally around a single conservative candidate, the one who is most viable, and that’s Newt Gingrich,” said Walter Whetsell, a South Carolina-based Republican consultant.

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The South Carolina primary, explained

We’re less that 24 hours from the most important contest to date in the 2012 presidential race: South Carolina’s Republican presidential primary.

Below is what you need to know about the vote to come.

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Marianne Gingrich says Newt eyed Callista as his ticket to the White House

Marianne Gingrich says Newt eyed Callista as his ticket to the White House

Newt Gingrich’s second wife said in an interview aired Thursday by ABC News that her ex-husband has “answers to give” regarding his personal sexual life and that he saw his eventual third wife as his ticket to the presidency.

Marianne Gingrich’s interview with ABC’s “Nightline” program expounded on previously released excerpts in which she accused her ex-husband of requesting an “open marriage” toward the end of their relationship. She said he lacks the character to be president.

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South Carolina Republican debate: Winners and losers

South Carolina Republican debate: Winners and losers

The final Republican presidential debate before Saturday’s all-important South Carolina primary is over.

We live-blogged the whole thing and, to be honest, came away generally impressed with the performances by each of the four men on stage.

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Gingrich says coverage of ex-wife’s allegation is appalling

Gingrich says coverage of ex-wife’s allegation is appalling

Newt Gingrich on Thursday denied his ex-wife’s contention that he asked her for an “open marriage” and, in the process, laid into the media for focusing on the issue.

In a remarkable exchange with CNN’s John King at the outset of Thursday’s South Carolina debate, Gingrich said the network and its competitors should not be covering the allegations leveled by his ex-wife.

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South Carolina Republican debate: The live chat!

The final four Republican presidential candidates will take the debate stage for the second time in the last three days tonight at 8 p.m. eastern time in Charleston, South Carolina. And we will bring it all to you!


The four podiums for Republican presidential candidates, from left, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, stand candidate-less, at the North Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, S.C., Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, prior to Thursday's debate. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Here’s the plan: Watch the debate will live on CNN and join us in our live chat — it’s at the bottom of this post — to talk about what you are watching in real time. (It’s all very meta.)

You can also watch the debate live here.

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South Carolina Republican debate: What to watch for

South Carolina Republican debate: What to watch for

And then there were four.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to quit the presidential race means that only four men — former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and Texas Rep. Ron Paul — will take the stage tonight for their 16th(!) gathering. (Who would have bet that quartet would have comprised the “final four” just a few months ago? You have to love politics!)

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Primary playlist: South Carolina music

Finally, two of the The Fix’s favorite things are coming together — music and presidential politics.

From now on, for every primary, we’ll come up with a playlist on Spotify, the official music-playing program of the Fix team. (Sorry, MOG.)

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Rick Perry ends presidential candidacy, endorses Newt Gingrich

Rick Perry ends presidential candidacy, endorses Newt Gingrich

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Texas Gov. Rick Perry ended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination today and threw his support behind former House speaker Newt Gingrich.

“I have come to the conclusion that this is no viable path forward for me in this 2012 campaign,” said Rick Perry. “Therefore I am suspending my campaign and endorsing Newt Gingrich for president of the United States.”

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Conservatives urge Perry to drop out

New Obama campaign hires (and ads), a campaign to get Rick Perry out of the race, offshore tax havens and sitting on sofas.

Make sure to sign up to get “Afternoon Fix” in your e-mail inbox every day by 5 (ish) p.m!

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Mitt Romney’s lead slips in South Carolina

Mitt Romney’s lead slips in South Carolina

Mitt Romney’s lead in Saturday’s South Carolina primary is eroding, but he’s still up by double digits, according to a new CNN/Time/Opinion Research poll.

The poll showed Romney’s 18-point lead from a week and a half ago declining to 10 percent.

He now leads Newt Gingrich 33 percent to 23 percent. Rick Santorum, who is competing with the former House speaker for the conservative anti-Romney mantle, is third at 16 percent, Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) is fourth at 13 percent, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry is fifth at 6 percent.

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The Stephen Colbert effect

The Stephen Colbert effect

Ever since comedian Stephen Colbert announced his intentions to explore a candidacy for president in South Carolina, we’ve wondered whether he might have any impact on the actual Republican primary race.

To be clear: Colbert missed the state’s filing deadline and South Carolina has no write-in vote option. So, Colbert isn’t going to get any real votes or even be on the ballot. (He is urging his supporters to vote for businessman Herman Cain who is on the South Carolina ballot but no longer in the race.)

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Mitt Romney’s rivals avoid health-care bill attacks at South Carolina debate

Mitt Romney’s rivals avoid health-care bill attacks at South Carolina debate

Mitt Romney’s biggest vulnerabilies in the GOP presidential race are supposed to be threefold: his moderate past, the health-care bill he signed into law as Massachusetts governor, and his record at Bain Capital.

And on all three counts, he basically got a pass at Monday’s debate.

In fact, the words “health care,” “moderate” and “liberal” didn’t come up once in reference to Romney.

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Super PACs under attack

Super PACs took a starring role in Monday night’s Republican presidential debate, with three separate scuffles over attack ads aired by independent groups collecting unlimited funds.

According to an AP analysis, ads now sway more voters than traditional campaigning. Super PACs are outspending the actual campaigns in South Carolina 2-to-1. The State reports that average viewers in the Columbia-area market are likely to see a political ad 182 times before Saturday’s primary.

In the battle of candidates vs. super PACs, candidates won, at least on merit. Every ad described as dishonest in the debate has been deemed so by independent factcheckers.

Below, every exchange, every ad and the facts.

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Rick Santorum ad: Mitt Romney ‘just like Obama’

Hours before sparring with him in Monday’s South Carolina debate over negative ads, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum released a spot there calling former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney “just like Obama.”

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South Carolina debate: 5 storylines to watch

South Carolina debate: 5 storylines to watch

Oh, debates, how we’ve missed you.

The five remaining Republican candidates for president will be back at it tonight in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina starting at 9 p.m. on Fox News Channel.

We will be live-blogging the entire debate but to tide you over here’s a look at what to watch for tonight.

* Bain banter?: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have spent the majority of the past week blasting former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for his time spent with Bain Capital.

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GOP ad wars: Jon Huntsman spending zero dollars in South Carolina

GOP ad wars: Jon Huntsman spending zero dollars in South Carolina

Every week from now through when decide to stop doing it, we will total up what presidential campaigns and super PACs are spending on ads and where they’re spending it, using numbers from a Republican media buyer.

Despite the fact that the New Hampshire primary happened this week, almost all the television ad spending in the race came in South Carolina.

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Two reasons why South Carolina is Mitt Romney’s toughest test

Two reasons why South Carolina is Mitt Romney’s toughest test

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s back-to-back wins in Iowa and New Hampshire over the past 16 days have established him as the heavy favorite for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

But, as the campaign shifts to South Carolina, Romney faces by far his toughest electoral test. That much has become cemented — or maybe congealed — as conventional wisdom.

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Pro-Mitt Romney super PAC goes in for the kill in Florida

Pro-Mitt Romney super PAC goes in for the kill in Florida

Mitt Romney won in New Hampshire on Tuesday, and his supporters are now moving in for the kill.

The super PAC supporting Romney’s campaign has increased its ad buy in Florida by $3.6 million — a huge number that comes on top of the $2.3 million in ads the super PAC, Restore Our Future, bought in South Carolina on Monday. A super PAC source confirmed the numbers to The Fix.

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Why South Carolina matters more than New Hampshire

Why South Carolina matters more than New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s presidential primary may be the news of the day but talk to any Republican strategist and it’s clear that the Granite State vote is only the appetizer to South Carolina’s main course in 11 days.

The South Carolina primary, which is set for Jan. 21, has long been circled on the calendars of political junkies everywhere for two big reasons: 1) The state has voted for the man who has gone on to win the Republican nomination in every primary since 1980 and 2) The state has a history of, how should we put this, contentious campaigns. (Think John McCain vs George W. Bush in 2000.)

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Is Jon Huntsman a one-state wonder?

Is Jon Huntsman a one-state wonder?

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman appears to be the momentum candidate in New Hampshire ahead of today’s Republican presidential primary vote.

Tracking polls conducted in the race show him moving up, he put in his best debate showing of the race thus far on Sunday, he’s up on television and he even won the endorsement of the Boston Globe in recent days.

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Mitt Romney storms to big lead in South Carolina as Rick Santorum stalks

Mitt Romney storms to big lead in South Carolina as Rick Santorum stalks

A new poll in South Carolina shows former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney opening up a big lead, but former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum is catching on quickly in the Palmetto State.

The CNN//Time/Opinion Research poll shows Romney at 37 percent followed by Santorum at 19 percent and former House speaker Newt Gingrich at 18 percent.

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Is Haley popular enough to help Romney?

CONWAY, S.C. — Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has a simple message as she tours the state with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Romney, she tells voters, would be her ally in the White House. He would help her implement immigration and voter ID policies that the Obama administration has fought. He gets it. If you like me, she’s saying, you should vote for Romney.
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is introduced by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley at a campaign event Thursday in Charleston, S.C. (David Goldman - AP)

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Mitt Romney seeks to end GOP contest in January

Mitt Romney seeks to end GOP contest in January

Mitt Romney is preparing a broad strategy after Iowa’s caucuses tonight, apparently hoping to close out the GOP presidential contest before the calendar turns to February.

The Post’s Phil Rucker reported last night that the former Massachusetts governor will head to South Carolina later this week, a sign he is prepared to fight in a state that has been less than hospitable to him since 2008. And a GOP source tells The Fix that Romney’s campaign is going up with an ad buy in Florida starting tomorrow. (New Hampshire is set to hold a primary on Jan. 10 followed by South Carolina on Jan. 21 and Florida on Jan. 31.)

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Rick Perry: It’s now or never

Rick Perry: It’s now or never

Texas Gov. Rick Perry stands at a now-or-never moment for his presidential campaign, teetering between second-tier status and emerging as the prime alternative to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in the nomination fight.

There’s little question that circumstances have provided Perry with an opening that is almost too good to be true. Just as his inexplicable flirtation with birtherism raised further questions about his readiness for primetime — and earned him our “Worst Week in Washington” award — a path to a Perry comeback has presented itself.

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