South Carolina GOP primary races to dramatic close

By Thomas Beaumont

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Jan. 21 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Republican presidential candidate former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, right, and his wife Callista sign autographs at a campaign rally aboard the USS Yorktown Friday, Jan. 20, 2012, in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

David Goldman, Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Republicans Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are not ceding one inch of South Carolina as the unpredictable campaign for the South's first presidential primary concludes.

Both are scheduled to hold dueling campaign events at Tommy's Ham House in Republican-rich Greenville late Saturday morning. And neither campaign is stepping back from a primary day showdown.

Romney is fighting a suddenly surging Gingrich, while rivals Rick Santorum and Ron Paul look to surprise in a four-man race that has spun wildly in its last 48 hours.

Seen as Romney's to lose just days ago, South Carolina's primary has become a close contest between Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and Gingrich, the confrontational former House speaker.

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