Ted Cruz: The U.S. senator from Texas needed a victory in Iowa to slow Donald Trump, who looked like he could sweep the early primaries. Cruz will be challenged to repeat his success in South Carolina. The past two Iowa winners failed to win in the Palmetto State. Standing second in S.C. polls, Cruz will need to make sure evangelical Christians turn out for him Feb. 20 like they did in Iowa.
Donald Trump: The New York billionaire has led S.C. polls for six months, but his lower-than-expected Iowa result could boost challenges from Cruz, the top social conservative candidate, and Marco Rubio, the top establishment hopeful. A so-so showing in New Hampshire next week could have some Trump backers in South Carolina eyeing other candidates.
Marco Rubio: The U.S. senator from Florida has momentum after pressing Trump for second in Iowa. Rubio has nearly three weeks to climb out of a big deficit from his third-place spot in S.C. polls. He gets a start Tuesday, when he will get the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of North Charleston, one of South Carolina’s most popular politicians.