Deluge of ‘baggage’ ads helps sink Gingrich in Florida

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Mr. Gingrich, who prides himself on the insurgent style of his top-down campaign, also couldn’t match Mr. Romney’s more muscular organization in the nation’s first big-state primary.

“Geographically, Florida is so spread out and very expensive,” Mr. Ingram said. “That was certainly a problem for Newt. That’s where Romney’s organization and his funding prowess gave him an advantage.”

Mr. Ingram said Mr. Gingrich’s loss in Florida also raises questions about the tea party’s ability to mobilize behind Mr. Gingrich or another conservative candidate.

“The tea party’s influence in this campaign is diminished with Romney’s win,” he said. “They’re not really unified.”

At campaign headquarters in Orlando, Fla., a defiant Mr. Gingrich stood among supporters who held up signs that said “46 states to go.” Mr. Gingrich, who didn’t mention Mr. Romney in his remarks, said the signs were a taunt aimed at the “elite media” who had declared his candidacy dead many times.

“Florida did something very important, coming on top of South Carolina,” Mr. Gingrich said. “It is now clear that this will be a two-person race between the conservative leader, Newt Gingrich, and the Massachusetts moderate.”

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