3) Romney reportedly raised almost $25 million
during the fourth quarter, a significant haul, and his best quarterly take to date.
2) Romney won with nearly 40 percent of the vote in New Hampshire on Tuesday night, becoming the first non-incumbent presidential candidate to notch victories in both Iowa and the Granite State. He scored a thorough across-the-board win in NH, winning 49% of Republicans, 42% of conservatives, 40% of Tea Party supporters and 30% of evangelicals. But turnout was only up slightly (234K in '08 vs. 241K+ in '12), showing that while New Hampshire Republicans may be eager to vote out Obama, they're not overwhelmed by their choices.
He faces a tougher task in South Carolina
, where he leads in the polls but is also the target of a seven figure ad buy from a Newt Gingrich
-supporting super PAC, and criticism from Gingrich/Rick Perry
The ex-governor will face challenges among evangelicals and other conservatives and his reinforcements will be out in full force too, ensuring what is shaping up to be another nasty, hard fought Palmetto State primary. Reid Wilson
[A] pro-Romney group is spending nearly twice what any other candidate or PAC has purchased in the Greenville/Spartanburg, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach/Florence markets. And Restore Our Future is going head-to-head with the Gingrich-friendly super PAC, Winning Our Future, in the Charlotte, Augusta and Savannah markets, too.
At the moment, the PAC's advertisements are pro-Romney spots. But a source with knowledge of Restore Our Future's thinking tells us that could change; if the group begins to see another candidate rise in polling, their messages will turn decidedly negative.
1) Romney demonstrated extraordinary reach across the Republican coalition in a sweeping New Hampshire victory Tuesday night that included not only the groups that favored him in Iowa, but also voters who identified as either evangelical Christians or strong tea party supporters, as National Journal's Ron Brownstein reports
It makes it all the more challenging for a single anti-Romney challenger to emerge in South Carolina, even as evangelical leaders are discussing the possibility. Per the New York Times
So it is with acute interest that Mr. Romney's aides are keeping their eye on a meeting of major evangelical leaders to be held this week in Texas, where there has been some talk of a move to coalesce around a single conservative alternative to Mr. Romney.