Update II: Exit poll data shows Newt Gingrich's performance in debates this week paid off, that his personal baggage didn't affect him negatively with voters and that the tea party threw their support behind the former Speaker a week before heading into Florida.Gingrich pulled in 7 out of every 10 tea party voters, 40 percent of married women votes and 43 percent of evangelical votes.
Update I: National Journal also calls it for Gingrich.
We're still waiting for final vote tallies to come in, but just one minute after polls have closed in South Carolina, Fox News has called Newt Gingrich a winner of the South Carolina primary. This changes the GOP primary race significantly and now the race stands with three different winners in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina going into Florida next weekend. For the past 30 years, South Carolina has predicted who becomes the GOP Nominee.
"I honestly think he is seen by out voters as a guy who will take on Obama," South Carolina GOP Chairman Chad Connelly tells Mark Webb, host of The Mark Web Radio show, who is broadcasting right next to me in Columbia.
Mitt Romney is expected to come in second place while Santorum and Paul will battle it out for third place.
Katie Pavlich is the Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her latest book Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women, was published on July 8, 2014.