Going by the conventional wisdom, the "smart money" in South Carolina — millions of it — was on Mitt Romney. That was, after all, the horse that Warren Tompkins picked. As brother blogger Adam Fogle writes:
It used to be that presidential campaign bragging rights in South Carolina went to one man: J. Warren Tompkins. Over the years, Tompkins had gained the reputation for being able to “pick a winner” with potential presidential campaigns. The powerhouse consultant appeared to confirm that status when he brokered the upset win of now-president George W. Bush in the 2000 Palmetto State GOP primary.
But after spending over $5 million in the last 12 months across South Carolina, the Tompkins-directed campaign of Mitt Romney finished a dreadful fourth place in Saturday’s primary. And according to The National Journal, the days of Tompkins’ ability to saddle up with a winner ended in 2000 when that year’s runners-up patiently crafted what would become a successful eight-year campaign to assail the top spot and deliver John McCain the win he had been denied.
Adam’s link is to a magazine article about how McCain fought his way back to victory over the past eight years.
Then, consider that Sen. Jim DeMint — who jumped on the popular side of the immigration bill, putting himself at odds with both his fellow senator from South Carolina and Sen. McCain — backed Romney as well. And even after South Carolina rejected that choice, he’s still on the Romney wagon:
Greenville, SC – Tonight, Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) congratulated the winners of the South Carolina Republican primary. He also pointed out that in the last five days Mitt Romney has won landslide victories in the Republican primary in the State of Michigan and the Caucuses in the State of Nevada and now has more delegates than any other Republican candidate.
“Tonight I congratulate Senator McCain and Governor Huckabee for a spirited campaign here in South Carolina. They worked hard and deserve credit for doing so well here. South Carolina voters should also be congratulated for braving bad weather conditions and voting in spite of the elements.
“Given today’s results, I am more confident than ever that Mitt Romney will be our next President. After Governor Romney’s lopsided wins in both Michigan and Nevada this week, it is clear he has real momentum heading into Florida and Super Tuesday. …
In other words, he was right, and the S.C. voters Saturday were wrong. Not usually the sort of position he takes.