Ben Schreckinger writes in Politico:
Donald Trump’s Tuesday win proves his candidacy is more than a mirage, but March will test its durability.
Trump allies and antagonists alike say he is well-positioned for the next contest on Feb. 20 in South Carolina, where he boasts a double-digit lead over Ted Cruz and fields his strongest operation of any state. But the Texas senator could gain the upper hand on Trump as soon as March 1, when 12 states vote, including six across the South where Cruz has invested heavily.
Already, Cruz campaign operatives streamed into South Carolina from New Hampshire on Tuesday, and are not going to concede next Saturday’s vote without a fight.
“Cruz is appealing to the electorate there and if you take that and combine it with the fact that he actually has a very, very, very good data operation, it makes it dangerous for Trump,” said Seth Weathers, a Trump supporter who briefly served as the campaign’s Georgia state director. “If it were anywhere but South Carolina, I’d be extremely worried, but I’m only slightly worried, because of the confidence I have in his team there.”
After that, Trump insiders concede, the businessman becomes more vulnerable to his Texan rival.
“I worry about Cruz in the South because Cruz is actually running the perfect [expletive] campaign,” said a Southern ally of Trump’s, who bemoaned a lack of investment in field and data operations.
Read the rest here.