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Politico’s Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman report that Newt Gingrich intends to soldier on all the way to the Republican convention in Tampa, no matter how badly he is defeated in Florida on Tuesday. Gingrich maintains that Mitt Romney cannot get a majority of delegates. It is almost an exact mirror of the case many made against Romney’s nomination all along – that there is an implacable majority of Republicans who simply won’t accept him as their nominee.
Here is what Martin and Haberman report.
Previewing his post-Florida message, Gingrich told reporters outside a megachurch here Sunday that he would seek to carry the Anybody But Mitt banner.
“When you take all the non-Romney votes, it’s very likely that at the convention there will be a non-Romney majority and maybe a very substantial one,” he said. “My job is to convert that into a Gingrich majority.”
Such Tampa talk has key party leaders worried.
Indeed. If Newt Gingrich could carry on a scorched earth campaign, it should frighten party leaders. It could weaken their nominee, split the party into two factions, dry up fundraising for the general election, and lead to an Obama landslide.
But this scenario, though good for bucking up campaign-staff as they march on to defeat, is as unlikely as creating America’s 51st state on the moon.
Newt Gingrich has had two ways of making a nice living since he left the speakership.
1) Using his ability to dazzle second-rate Congressman as a ‘policy-thinker’ to sell his influence to medical companies and other special interests like Freddie Mac.
2) Working the conservative confab circuit. Selling books and videos about “God in America” at CPAC, etc.
Both of these would dry up instantly if he was seen as running a futile and vindictive campaign against Romney.
If Gingrich is defeated soundly in successive contests over the next month, there will be extremely intense pressure on him to drop out. Republicans still have in their party’s DNA the instinct to unite behind the frontrunner. Gingrich will be a pariah if he is seen as softening Romney up for defeat only to soothe his own sore ego.