Newt Gingrich appears to have won the primary in South Carolina.
Republican Party voters in the southern state cast ballots on January 21 for their choice to challenge President Barrack Obama in November's presidential election.
Preliminary results give Gingrich 41 percent, followed by Mitt Romney, the clear front-runner up till now with 26 percent.
The win in the first southern primary marks a turnaround from Gingrich's poor showing in the first two contests of the Republican presidential campaign.
It also puts Gingrich in a position to establish himself as the true conservative alternative to Romney, who some Republicans see as too moderate.
compiled from agency reports