Skip to comments.Newt Gingrich allies in South Carolina and Florida smell victory
Posted on 01/18/2012 12:15:23 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
Presidential candidate Newt Gingrichs outstanding debate performance on Monday and key endorsements could set the stage for a strong showing by Gingrich in Saturdays South Carolina primary, which would position him for a possible win in the Florida primary on Jan. 31 and a chance at the Republican nomination for President this summer.
Thats what the two former Republican U.S. Representatives who are chairing Gingrichs campaign in those two key states told HUMAN EVENTS yesterday. Following what even Gingrichs enemies say was a virtuoso performance in the debate at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Monday evening, former Reps. John Napier (S.C.) and Bill McCollum (Fla.) spelled out how a long-term Gingrich game plan could emerge from the primaries in their respective states.
If Newt runs strong in South Carolina, that will mean he overcame a tremendous barrage of negative politics and it did not cement, said Napier, who spoke to us as the Gingrich campaign began running fresh ads featuring clips of his best lines in the Monday night debate. A just-completed Rasmussen Poll showed that among likely GOP primary voters in the Palmetto State, Mitt Romney had 35 percent, Gingrich 21 percent, and Ron Paul and Rick Santorum were tied with 16 percent each.
Another sign that Gingrich may be showing sudden momentum in South Carolina is his endorsement Monday from Lieutenant Governor Ken Ard a break from his fellow GOPer, Gov. Nikki Haley, who came out early for Romney. In addition, one of the states most influential and respected evangelical leaders, Dr. Bill Monroe of the Florence Baptist Temple, was set to endorse Gingrich.
Napier would not say precisely what he meant by his man running strong Saturday, but Floridas McCollum said that if Gingrich came in second, that would be great and would put him in a position to do very well and possibly win in the Sunshine State January 3rd. In his words, if Newt wins Saturday and thats not beyond the pale great. If hes second, thats great, too. And if he is in a tight fight with Santorum for third, thats not bad either.
McCollum did say that his vision of a Gingrich triumph in Florida will not work if he falls way down in South Carolina.
As large as Florida is and as expensive as its media markets are, McCollum noted that the Georgian has an experienced and enthusiastic team of supporters who are well-equipped to take advantage of a strong showing by their candidate in South Carolina. Jose Mallea, campaign manager for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in 2010, is the full-time campaign manager for Gingrich in Florida and, with the backing of former State Party Vice Chairman Debby Cox-Roush, Newt has chairmen in all 67 counties here and eight campaign headquarters throughout the state. In fact, in Jacksonville, Im going to open the ninth headquarters tomorrow.
Like Napier, McCollum addressed the question of whether Gingrich can appeal to evangelical conservatives and values voters. In his words, we have an excellent faith-based coalition co-chaired by former State Rep. Kurt Kelly and State Sen. John Grant, both respected leaders in that community. Another respected leader in that community, Matt Staver of Liberty Council, is on board with Newt in a big way.
Napier and McCollum addressed the issue of whether Team Gingrich can organize nationwide. Where Napier noted that in South Carolina Gingrich support has mushroomed almost overnight from his debate showing, McCollum told us how much of the Gingrich organization in Florida has come together only since December. And our volunteers hold viewing parties to watch the debates and after each party, there are more volunteers.
Both Napier and McCollum came to the U.S. House when Ronald Reagan was elected President in 1980 and both quickly became close friends and political allies of Gingrich (who was elected in 78). Napier went on to be a judge of the U.S. Court of Claims, and McCollum was twice elected attorney general of his state and ran for governor and U.S. Senator. Now both are the former speakers critical allies, as the primaries in South Carolina and Florida may well determine whether Gingrich has a game plan that goes into Super Tuesday and beyond.
What do you expect the campaign chairmen to say? That their guy is dead man walking? I personally think that if Newt can't beat Romney in SC, FL is going to be near impossible for a win.
they are right on.. if this thing is going to happen it’s going to happen pretty quickly... Romney picked up voters lately who really aren’t all that enthusiastic for him but were under the assumption nobody else was going to challenge him.. Gingrich’s debate performance could swing a nice percentage of votes from all the other candidates (other than Paul) to make it very close
The smartest thing Santorum could do is use the momentum from Iowa for trying to get back in the senate, instead of wasting it on a no-chance for South Carolina.
Santorum’s big moment in the debate was calling Romney out for a convicted felon vote.. back and forth back and forth .. Santorum stumbling and bumbling over his words and thoughts trying to get his questions out.. ok a single hit by Santorum but nobody really cared.. everybody knows Romney is a big B.S artist.... BORING the debate was dragging
then out of nowhere Newt Gingrich (without worrying about how his answers would poll) whips out one of the strongest debate performances ever seen by a candidate running for President.. he hit one grandslam after another on some of the main issues Conservatives feel strongest about,
Gingrich sat up there and in very few words laid out exactly who we are and what we stand for and what we believe... the man got a standing ovation from hundreds of people who weren’t even behind him when they came in.. Frank Luntz said he had never seen that in his life
as it was happening my 83 year old father says “do you think anybody else on that stage could have elevated the discussion to that level, on their own and unrehearsed?.. no way in the world Romney could have done that”
he was elevating the whole debate to the big picture issues of our day and did it like Reagan used to do,,, the poverty corridor example was so much like “are you better off than you were four years ago?” that it brought instant reminisces of the Gipper vs Carter
You can fool some people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.
That Gingrich is the only conservative to make a come-back from being up and then down in the polls, shows the true greatness of the man who will be the next President.
Time will tell.....!
I liked the part about “South Carolina support mushrooming overnight”, after that debate performance. “Virtuoso” performance, I believe they called it, and that was the analysis from his enemies. Not bad for night’s work. Numbers are moving that’s for sure and Newt has broken out. The clock is running on all of us to Saturday.
YEAH! I REALLY HOPE SO.
John Gizzi is one of the top political reporters in Washington (I would give the top position to Ralph Hallow). So, when John speaks, it’s well worth listening. If he says Newt is on the ascendancy, that means the backroom word in Washington’s inner circles is that we could well see a horse race in the making.
Could one debate make that much difference? Much depends on how well Newt was able to exploit his performance through adroit advertising.