Kimball: Gingrich ‘Needs to Win’ S.C.

by Robert Costa

Manchester, N.H. — As the polls close, former New Hampshire GOP chairman Jack Kimball, a Gingrich supporter, remains hopeful. But if Gingrich finishes in third, fourth, or fifth place, “he will need to win South Carolina,” Kimball says. “If he does, that will be a game-changer, but he will need that, he will need the momentum. South Carolina looms large.”

“Of course, it’s important he jumps close [to the top tier] tonight,” Kimball tells me, as he strolls around the Radisson hotel. But after watching Gingrich spar with Romney in recent days, he’s not expecting too much. “Romney brought this on, he baited Gingrich. Gingrich wanted to run a positive campaign, he really did, and now he’s forced to respond.”

Kimball also brushes off the notion of a Huntsman surge. “He setup his tent here,” he says. “He put all of his eggs in the New Hampshire basket, so to speak. More than anything, I think he’s hurt Romney, bringing him down from above 40 percent to below that. He’s taking from Romney, not others.”

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