12/05/2011 03:14 pm ET

Bachmann, Gingrich In Battle For South Carolina Tea Party Support

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann are waging battle over the hearts, minds and ballots of Palmetto State Tea Partiers, and it’s not pretty.

Bachmann, a rising star in the polls just three months ago, is attracting smaller support now than ever after seeing her light dimmed by the surges of first Gov. Rick Perry, then businessman Herman Cain and now Gingrich. As the founder of the Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, she rightfully claims Tea Party members as a core of her support.

But Gingrich, who has surged from single-digits to one-third of the state’s likely Republican primary voters in the past two months, needs that support if he was going to mount a serious challenge to the long-considered-frontrunner, former Gov. Mitt Romney.

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