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Republican presidential hopefuls, former senator Rick Santorum (L), former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (2nd-L), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (2nd-R) and Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R) participate in the CNN Southern Republican Leadership Conference Town Hall Debate in Charleston, South Carolina, Jan. 19.
The crucial South Carolina primary is tomorrow. If Mitt Romney wins, he could effectively seal the nomination. But Newt Gingrich is surging. In the most recent polls, he's leading Mitt Romney by a few percentage points. So why is South Carolina so significant? And what role does the state's history of dirty politics play at a national level?
Brad Wharter is a columnist with The State newspaper in South Carolina.