UNLIKE Rick and Mitt, Newt Gingrich didn't sit on his laurels complaining about the liberal political landscape of his state. Newt CHANGED the political landscape in GA (as he did in Washington), brought Democrats into the party, rallied people to get involved in politics -- all by pushing conservatism.
"ATLANTA It wasn't so long ago that the Republican Party in Georgia was just an afterthought, and Democrats were in firm control of all the levers of state government. Back then, Newt Gingrich and other die-hard GOP stalwarts ventured across the state with the far-fetched message that Republicans could reverse the tide.
Now with commanding majorities in the Statehouse and control of all statewide offices, Gingrich is hoping his vision for how the GOP could overcome decades of Democratic dominance in Georgia will pay dividends. He sorely needs a victory when his home state votes Tuesday, along with a big chunk of its 76 delegates, to prove his stumbling presidential bid has staying power.
Many Republican figures in Georgia still credit him with championing conservative policies, outlining a framework for what a GOP majority in the state could accomplish and broadcasting talking points to a generation of up-and-coming conservative leaders. He's also applauded for lobbying conservative Democrats, like then-Rep. Nathan Deal, to switch parties.
"Everyone else was trying to lose as slowly as possible, and to die with dignity at the Alamo. He was talking confidently that the Republican majority in Georgia, in the South and nationally was right around the corner," said Ralph Reed, a veteran Georgia GOP operative who founded the national Faith and Freedom Coalition. "On the one hand it was crazy, but on the other it was just the most exciting thing you've ever heard.".....................In Ga., Gingrich helped build conservative base