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SC primary up for grabs, Gingrich making big play

By Philip Elliott

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Dec. 5 2011 1:26 a.m. MST

FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2011 file photo, Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at Tommy's Ham House in Greenville , S.C. For three decades, the Republican who won South Carolina's presidential primary has also won the GOP nomination. That strong record helps explain why Gingrich is working more aggressively than any of his competitors to organize activists and volunteers ahead of the Jan. 21 primary. His chief rival, Mitt Romney, is approaching South Carolina tentatively.

Richard Shiro, File, Associated Press

NEWBERRY, S.C. — Newt Gingrich has always been a big fan of history. He knows that for three decades, the Republican who won South Carolina's presidential primary has also won the GOP nomination.

That could explain why Gingrich is working more aggressively than any of his competitors to organize activists and volunteers ahead of the Jan. 21 primary.

But victory in the state will be a tough task for the thrice-married Gingrich.

He has acknowledged having an extramarital affair, an issue that may turn off Christian conservatives who hold great sway in South Carolina.

And he has advocated a "humane" approach to immigration that would let longtime residents work toward citizenship, a tough sell in the state.

Gingrich is now in the midst of building the largest presidential organization in South Carolina.

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