This may be the start of one of the most remarkable comebacks in modern American political history.
Newt Gingrich has looked down and out more than once in the 2012 Republican race for the White House.
But the 68-year-old former Speaker of the House has blown the race wide open with his victory in the South Carolina primary.
The scenes at his victory party in the ballroom of a Columbia hotel were those of a campaign that has rediscovered its verve.
There must have been 400 people squeezed into a room with a health and safety limit of 150. The fire marshal wasn’t happy.
The heat of the TV lights made it sauna-like but no one seemed to care.
Mr Gingrich told them: “It is very humbling and very sobering to have so many people who so deeply want their country to get back on the right track.
“We want to run not a Republican campaign, we want to run an American campaign.”
The dismal results in Iowa and New Hampshire seemed a world away.
Even a week ago, he was trailing Mitt Romney and appeared to be a long-shot for the nomination.
Read the blog by Washington commentator Jon-Christopher Bua
But his fiery and belligerent performances in two televised debates, attacking his critics and the media, have resurrected his hopes.
One of his supporters told me: “Newt’s there for me, the man fights, Romney doesn’t fight. I want a man who fights for me, not just for himself.”
Mr Romney slipped on his awkward failure to answer questions about tax return, his record of flip-flopping and doubts among evangelical voters about his Mormon faith.
Exit polling in South Carolina made for interesting reading.
Voters said the debates played a major role and for many the priority was picking someone who could beat Barack Obama.
For many, Mr Gingrich ticked the right box.
Fifteen years to the day after his career low, fined and reprimanded by the House he led for ethics violations, he has certainly hit a high.
See pictures below from the Republican campaign in South Carolina.