They have a week to halt Mitt Romney from sweeping to a third straight party primary victory in the race to decide which Republican will face Barack Obama in November. But the dynamics that lifted the former Massachusetts governor to wins in Iowa and New Hampshire seem to be working for him in South Carolina.
South Carolina is often described as too evangelical and culturally southern for his background, but the former Massachusetts governor has benefited from a fractured opposition that has divided the anti-Romney vote for months. Romney has also benefited from shrewd and well-organized supporters. He uses TV ads to shore up his weaknesses and to batter the rivals he sees as most threatening.
Still, the state is known for campaign surprises, and there’s still time for twists and turns. Undercurrents of anti-Romney sentiment, perhaps fueled by his Mormonism, could be stronger than they seem.