It looks like the end of the road for Newt Gingrich. The former House Speaker has been on a downward spiral for the past two days since his loss in Florida on Tuesday, culminating this morning with Donald Trump’s surprise endorsement of his rival Mitt Romney.
The Trump endorsement might not have been so bad if Gingrich hadn’t said this morning that he was getting the Donald’s nod.
It’s unclear why Gingrich was confused, but his hasty boasting is yet another indication that the former House Speaker is melting down. The premature remark came about 12 hours after Gingrich abruptly canceled a meeting and photo op with Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, a young Republican star who had endorsed Rick Perry.
No one seems to know why Gingrich skipped out on his date with Sandoval, but it’s clear that the campaign has way bigger problems to deal with than The Donald.
In fact, Nevada Tea Party leader Sharron Angle’s decision to endorse Rick Santorum this morning was probably a much bigger blow to the Gingrich campaign. Although Angle’s national star has fallen since her failed 2010 Senate bid against Harry Reid, the former state senator is still a major figure in the state’s active Tea Party movement.
Angle’s endorsement of Santorum effectively knocks down the narrative that Gingrich is the “Tea Party” candidate and the “true conservative” in the race. While it is true that Gingrich has relied on conservative grassroots tactics and heavily recruited his second round of staffers from the Tea Party movement (including from Angle’s campaign), that has clearly not been enough to dispel doubts about his decidedly un-teapartyish past.
Angle’s endorsement is further evidence of Gingrich’s organizational weakness in Nevada and other caucus states. Gingrich’s team here claims it has some of the most comprehensive voter lists in the state, but there is little evidence that anyone on the campaign knows what to do with them.
Meanwhile, Gingrich remains fixated on Romney, almost to the point of appearing unhinged.
At the very least, Gingrich has revealed he is a very sore loser. The campaign said today that Gingrich plans to file a complaint with the Republican National Committee to demand Florida switch from a “winner-take-all” primary state to one that awards its delegates proportionally, citing arcane Republican party rules.
There is virtually no chance that the RNC will bend to Newt’s will, and it’s not even clear if they have the authority to force a change. We’ll update as we learn more, but for now it looks like one last desperate gasp from a dying campaign.
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