Gingrich’s Georgia Is No Sure Thing Come Super Tuesday

February 9, 2012 12:00 AM
Gingrich’s Georgia Is No Sure Thing Come Super Tuesday
" ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia presidential primary may not be a slam dunk for Republican hopeful Newt Gingrich, a congressman from the state for two decades. Rival Mitt Romney is signaling that the biggest prize on Super Tuesday could be up for grabs.

Romney’s swing into Georgia on Wednesday had Gingrich on the defensive. After the former Massachusetts governor announced his visit, the Gingrich campaign rushed out a news release trumpeting word that Gingrich would be in Georgia for two days next week.

A win in Georgia is key to Gingrich’s Southern strategy, which calls for him to rebound from five straight losses with a strong run in Dixie. His lone victory in the GOP race came in South Carolina.

“I think if he wants to continue he has got to win Georgia,” former Gov. Sonny Perdue told The Associated Press. “And I think he must win fairly decisively.”

Perdue, Georgia’s first GOP governor since Reconstruction, had been a national co-chairman for Gingrich but dropped his support for the former House speaker last spring when top campaign aides and consultants walked out.

Ten states will vote on Super Tuesday, March 6. With 76 delegates, Georgia is the largest catch.

Romney, the third-place finisher in Georgia’s 2008 presidential primary, has tapped into the deep pockets of metro Atlanta’s business community. But he has yet to win an election in the Deep South and his momentum is in question after a trio of losses Tuesday. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, fresh off victories in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota, was last in Georgia in the fall and has little organization. Neither does the GOP’s other presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. "

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