Jon Huntsman is out of the Republican race for the nomination. I was surprised after he did decently in New Hampshire that he was going to South Carolina. I thought he would have gone straight to Florida instead - going more for mainstream Republicans, rather than the more religious right.
Oh well, he was never a favorite of mine. So I can't say that it matters a whole lot to me that he's getting out - but he did have some interesting ideas that I wouldn't mind seeing picked up by some of the other candidates - such as the flat tax and endorsing Paul Ryan's original plan.
We're now left with Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.
Ron Paul is in for the long haul - He knows he's not going to win but is interested in getting his libertarian ideas out there by winning as many delegates as he can so he can have influence over the party's platform. It's a smart strategy.
I think that we'll see Rick Perry drop out after South Carolina if he doesn't show well. He skipped New Hampshire to go straight to South Carolina and campaign there - he needs to do well.
Rick Santorum needs to come out ahead of Newt Gingrich to be viable in the race. He came in behind Gingrich in New Hampshire by a slim margin - he needs to do better than that especially in South Carolina. I expect him to be out, unless something substantial happens, after the Florida primary.
I don't know about Newt. He's still angry about how the Romney campaign treated him in Iowa. He's running a half hour advertisement bashing Romney's involvement in Bain Capital Ventures. Revenge isn't pretty, and it looks like Gingrich may take this path - beating on Romney as long as possible. We will see.
Tonight is another debate, hosted by Fox News. We'll see how the race shapes up now that there are fewer candidates on the stage fielding questions.