After Tuesday’s defeat, Gingrich has faced calls to withdraw from the race and support Santorum. The theory is that the conservative vote is being split and it is benefiting Governor Mitt Romney. Gingrich rejected any idea of leaving the campaign trial and reiterated that he will be in the campaign until the August convention in Tampa, Florida.
Is there a path to victory for Gingrich? He still has an outside chance, but the Speaker needs to start building a larger delegate count and hope that Romney can be stopped from reaching the magic number needed for the nomination, 1,144 delegates.
In essence, Gingrich needs to regain momentum and start winning some states. For the Speaker, there is no better place to start than Louisiana. On Saturday March 24, Louisiana will hold the Republican presidential primary and the Speaker is going to focus on the state much more than either Romney or Santorum.
Today, Gingrich is appearing at a series of events in the New Orleans area. Tonight, he will be on the north shore in Covington at a rally. Next week, he will be campaigning across the state with tea party favorite Herman Cain and Louisiana musical legend Sammy Kershaw.
Obviously, the Speaker thinks he can win the state’s primary and build momentum toward a possible win in Texas and other states.
If he can reach Tampa on the ascendancy, instead of a decline, he can make a more powerful case for the nomination.
To start winning, Gingrich needs to garner a majority of the conservative vote, which is why he is attacking Santorum in a new web ad as a big spender in Congress. It will take quite an effort to deny Santorum a victory in Louisiana. According to a recent WWL-TV poll of Louisiana Republican voters, Santorum leads in Louisiana with 25 percent of the vote, followed by Romney at 21 percent and Gingrich at 20 percent. Ron Paul is almost a non-factor at only 6 percent of the vote. The rest are undecided.
Gingrich is being assisted in Louisiana by former Congressman Bob Livingston and Charlie Buckels, the Deputy Chairman of the Republican Party. However, Santorum has an even more powerful friend, U.S. Senator David Vitter, who has loaned the campaign his political team for the next week. Vitter’s Chief of Staff Kyle Ruckert is leading Santorum’s campaign in Louisiana.
If Gingrich loses Louisiana next Saturday, there will be more calls for him to support Santorum and exit the race. However, if he wins, it could reignite his campaign and give him a desperately needed shot of momentum.
For the first time in many years, the Louisiana GOP primary will be very meaningful, especially for one candidate, Newt Gingrich.
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected]">[email protected].