Published January 12, 2012
In an open race for the GOP nomination, no Republican has won both Iowa and New Hampshire, as Mitt Romney has. No one has come in fourth or fifth in New Hampshire, as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum did, and become the nominee. No one has entirely skipped Iowa, as Jon Huntsman did, and won elsewhere. No one has recovered after grabbing the 1% that Rick Perry received in the Granite State. And no one became the nominee after failing to win one of the first two contests, a position in which Ron Paul finds himself.
All this means history will be made this year, no matter what happens next.
The focus Tuesday was more on the winner's margin than on the victory itself. Mr. Romney won the New Hampshire primary by an impressive 16.4 points. (The state's last five contested GOP primaries have seen an average winning margin of 10.5 points.) True to its tradition, New Hampshire paid little attention to Iowa's big story—Mr. Santorum's impressive second-place finish. He finished fifth. The candidate who camped out in New Hampshire saw that pay off, as Mr. Huntsman did 17 times as well there as he's doing in the Gallup national poll, where he's at 1%.
All six candidates have enough resources to run hard in the next contest, in South Carolina on Jan. 21. Already, five campaigns have placed over $6 million on television in the state, with Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Romney accounting for over $4 million of it.
It's important to understand that South Carolina is not quintessentially Southern in the way that, for example, Mississippi and Alabama are.
Karl Rove is a former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush. He is a Fox News contributor and author of "Courage and Consequence" (Threshold Editions, 2010). To continue reading his column in The Wall Street Journal, click here.