Is the end nigh for Newt Gingrich?
With the Republican primary contests moving to Alabama and Mississippi next week, the former House speaker has staked the future of his campaign on beating Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum there; it is his Southern strategy.
Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond, on Wednesday said Alabama and Mississippi are must-win states to keep the campaign credible, according to The Wall Street Journal.
But Gingrich, who told a crowd of supporters after the Super Tuesday contests that I'm the tortoise in the race, is staring down bad poll numbers in Alabama. Two polls released Wednesday show the House speaker in third place, behind Romney and Santorum.
One from Alabama State University shows Gingrich with 14 percent to Santorum's 23 percent, with Romney gaining on the former senator with 19 percent of the vote. Another Alabama poll shows Gingrich with 21 percent, behind Romney's 31 percent and Santorum's 22 percent.
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Meanwhile in Mississippi, Santorum is trying to push Gingrich out of the race, telling Republicans if he wins the state's primary, this will be a two-person race, and if this is a two-person race, we will nominate a conservative as president of the United States, The Los Angeles Times reported.
In trying to push Gingrich out of the race, Santorum is capitalizing on his successes in the 10-state Super Tuesday primaries, where he won in Oklahoma and Tennessee -- two states Gingrich had hoped to win. Santorum also won in North Dakota and held Romney to a slim margin of victory in Ohio, a key swing state.
Ultimately, Gingrich's focus on the South produced one solid -- if expected -- victory on Super Tuesday: his home state of Georgia, whose Republican voters still fondly remember their most prominent Congressman.
But that poor showing has yet to stop Gingrich from pressing on in Alabama and Mississippi. And Santorum's remarks are not exactly persuading Gingrich to drop out. The campaign is making an effort to stay competitive up to the Texas primary May 29.
Everything between Spartanburg [South Carolina], all the way to Texas. Those all need to go for Gingrich, Hammond, Gingrich's spokesman, said, according to The Associated Press.