LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is dramatically curtailing his campaign schedule, laying off about a third of his staff and dismissing his campaign manager as he focuses on a last-ditch effort to win the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s convention.
Mr. Gingrich’s strategy hinges on preventing front-runner Mitt Romney from winning the 1,144 delegates he needs for the nomination, Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said Tuesday night. Mr. Gingrich plans to spend much less time in primary states and instead personally call delegates to try to persuade them to back him at the Republican National Convention in August.
Mr. Gingrich’s campaign manager, Michael Krull, was asked to resign. Mr. Hammond and campaign communications director Joe DeSantis will remain with the campaign. Both have been working for Mr. Gingrich for more than a year, even as a group of consultants quit the campaign last summer.
The changes in Mr. Gingrich’s strategy and campaign staff were first reported by Politico.
The rollback in the campaign comes after Mr. Gingrich listed more than $1.5 million in outstanding debt by the end of February, according to Federal Election Commission filings, including legal fees and advertising production costs. At the same time, he had about $1.5 million cash on hand, the lowest of the four GOP candidates.
Campaigning Tuesday in Maryland, Mr. Gingrich conceded that he is strapped for campaign funds. “The money is very tight, obviously,” he said. “That’s why we’re trying to raise more money.”
Rick Santorum, Mr. Gingrich’s rival for the anti-Romney vote among conservatives, responded to the news that Mr. Gingrich was scaling back his campaign by urging Republicans to back his effort, not Romney‘s.
“One of the things I was told very early on in presidential politics is that you run for president as long as the money hangs on,” Mr. Santorum told reporters Tuesday night in Delavan Lake, Wis.
“I think it is time for all the Republican candidates to coalesce behind me,” Mr. Santorum said. “You know, let’s just have a conservative nominee to take on Barack Obama. Until that time happens, I’m not going to call on anyone to get out.”
In a nod to those who think he should give way to Mr. Romney, Mr. Gingrich on Tuesday pledged to support his rival’s bid if the former Massachusetts governor wins enough convention delegates to clinch the nomination by the end of the GOP primary season in June.
“Obviously, I will support him and will be delighted to do anything I can to help defeat Barack Obama,” Mr. Gingrich told reporters in Annapolis, Md. Republicans vote in the Maryland primary next week.View Entire Story
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