Next Week's Southern Primaries Could Be Newt's Last Stand

  on March 07 2012 9:38 PM
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Newt Gingrich points before the start of the presidential debate in Mesa, Arizona, February 22, 2012.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich won Georgia's Republican primary on Tuesday. REUTERS/Laura Segall

Newt Gingrich is banking his remaining hopes on next week's Alabama and Mississippi primaries and his future will be in doubt if he loses there, his campaign spokesman acknowledged Wednesday.

The former House speaker is canceling planned events in Kansas and concentrating on the Deep South, said R.C. Hammond, The Hill reported.

“Everything between Spartanburg [S.C.] all the way to Texas, those all need to go for Gingrich,” said Hammond, according to The Washington Post.

A big win in Georgia kept us in the race. Big wins in Alabama and Mississippi will add even more fuel to the tank, CBS quoted Hammond saying in Montgomery, Ala.

Gingrich's victory in Georgia Tuesday night was his first since his upset capture of South Carolina in January. He is far behind Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in delegates.

The Wall Street Journal pressed Hammond as to whether Gingrich has to win in Alabama and Mississippi and whether the former speaker's credibility rests on carrying the states next Tuesday. Yes, Hammond responded.

But the Gingrich spokesman dismissed suggestions by Santorum's campaign team and super PAC that he exit the race to enable a one-on-one showdown between the former Pennsylvania senator and Romney.

“All of the logic being used by the Santorum campaign is simply reversed and it could be used on Rick Santorum,” Hammond said. “We’ll argue, Santorum is splitting Mitt Romney’s moderate vote.”

On William Bennett's syndicated radio show Wednesday morning, Gingrich said he would consider quitting if he thought Santorum would definitely go on to become president.

“If I thought he was a slam dunk to beat Romney and to beat Obama, I would really consider getting out. I don’t,” Gingrich said. “I think each of the three candidates has strengths and weaknesses and that this is a very healthy vetting process.”

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