Newt Gingrich has a deadline for when he would consider dropping out of the race.
It's in a while.
The Republican presidential candidate said at a campaign stop in Maryland on Tuesday he would quit after the Utah primary on June 26 -- the last scheduled state contest -- only if Mitt Romney, the frontrunner in the race, had collected the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination.
Gov. Romney is the frontrunner but is a long way from a majority, Gingrich said at Maryland's statehouse in Annapolis, according to CNN. If [Romney] does get, by the time Utah votes on the votes on the 26th of June, if he gets a majority, obviously I will support him and will be delighted to do anything I can to defeat Barack Obama.
The former House speaker was quick to add he was ready to take on his GOP rivals at the Republican National Convention if Romney failed to collect the needed amount of delegates, something he has reiterated throughout the past few weeks.
If, however, we get to June 26 and Gov. Romney does not have a majority, I think you'll then have one of the most interesting, open conventions in American history, he said.
Gingrich faces calls to drop out
Gingrich voiced his determination to stay in the race as calls for him -- as well as Ron Paul and Rick Santorum -- to drop out escalate.
This year's election certainly stands out for having an unusually long nomination race. By this point, parties have usually coalesced around a nominee, but Romney's inability to scoop up close to the 1,144 delegates he needs have given his rivals hope of a brokered Republican National Convention in which they can take the nomination.
According to the Associated Press, Romney has collected 568 delegates with a little over 20 more state contests to go. Santorum has 273, while Gingrich has 135 and Paul has 50.
The past couple of weeks, however, Romney has gained a substantial enough lead in delegates to have many Republicans labeling him the inevitable nominee and calling for the others to quit and end this primary once and for all.
For one, Gingrich's recent primary performances have been less than stellar. He placed a distant third in Louisiana on March 24 and fourth in Illinois on March 20. He placed a strong second in Alabama and Mississippi the week before, but failed to live up to the victories he had in South Carolina and Georgia earlier in the race.
A CNN/ORNC International poll released Tuesday revealed that 60 percent of Republicans surveyed want Gingrich to drop out of the race, while 61 percent asked the same for Paul.
And last week, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush endorsed Romney and asked for his fellow party members to unite behind the former Massachusetts governor.
While some Republicans have trouble wrapping their head around why Gingrich is still in the race, his grassroots operations show no sign of admitting defeat in the near future.
High hopes in Texas
The Texas primary is about two months away (May 29) and polls have Gingrich placed in third about 20 points behind Santorum, but Texas grassroots campaign director Larry Welsh said their efforts in the Lone Star state are in full swing.
There's no reason for anyone to drop out at this rate, at this point, Welsh said.
Between Gov. Rick Perry's endorsement of Gingrich and campaign stops closer to the primary, Welsh said he hopes to raise the poll numbers from third to first and put his candidate in the national conversation.
It's our belief that no one will have the necessary 1,144 delegates prior to the convention and we believe that there will be a national conversation among Republicans, he said.
The Texas primary, as well as the Utah primary, is still a long way off, but it's unclear how finances will play a role in keeping the campaign going. FEC filings through February show that Gingrich is about $1.6 million in debt, but Welsh said that we certainly have the resources to continue.
In a sign that his campaign is struggling to stay afloat financially, the Gingrich campaign tried charging $50 for pictures with the candidate although they were offered for free in the past.
But somehow, Gingrich appears to be chugging through. Super PACS pumping in hundreds of thousands - and sometimes multimillions - of dollars of contributions (mostly from billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam) have helped keep the campaign afloat.
This is an election like we've never seen before, Welsh said.