The Republican presidential race is at a critical juncture. A frontrunner clearly has emerged, but it’s up to his rivals to prevent him from locking down the nomination.

Hence, the quest for the so-called “conservative” alternative to Mitt Romney, a journey that has now led to the great state of South Carolina.

Since 1980, the winner of the first-in-the-South primary ended up clinching the nomination every time. South Carolina doesn’t pick Republicans just to make a statement. It picks nominees.

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