Newt Gingrich didn’t perform particularly well in the nation’s first primary, finishing a disappointing fifth place in New Hampshire back in January. That was before catching wind in his sails with a South Carolina victory and the dramatic, slow motion car crash that has followed.
Now, as the Republican contest enters a fourth month of voting, the former Speaker of the House is seeking to revive his moribund campaign by staking many of his hopes on the upcoming primary in the nation’s first state. Gingrich is aiming to win the hearts and minds of voters in tiny Delaware, a primary contest where his nearly bankrupt campaign can still afford to go toe-to-toe against the big boys, Romney and Santorum.
Gingrich became the first major candidate to campaign in Delaware last week, when he appeared with State Senator Colin Bonini at a rally attended by several hundred New Castle County Republicans. Bonini endorsed Gingrich at the event, according to media reports.
The former Speaker will hold four events in Delaware this Thursday, and his wife Callista is also scheduled to swing through the state.
The Gingrich campaign isn’t saying that Delaware is make or break, but clearly they understand that it’s a logical choice to make a stand. The state votes on April 24, so he still has about a month to build momentum and organize there. His opponents will likely spend most of their time in delegate-rich states like Pennsylvania and New York, both of which vote on the same day as tiny Delaware.
If he somehow pulls out a miracle win in the state, Gingrich will secure an additional 17 delegates. Plus, the April 24 primaries are followed by a lull in the nominating contest, which resumes in May on friendlier territory in West Virginia, North Carolina and Texas.
Gingrich is not the first ever Presidential candidate to pin their hopes on Delaware. In 2004, Senator Joe Lieberman’s quest for the Democratic nomination ended with a distant second place showing in the primary there, a contest he had targeted as “must win” for him to continue forward.
Insisting he is in the race through the Tampa convention, don’t expect Newt to follow Joe’s footsteps if he falls short in Delaware.