Georgia Is Newt's Last Stand

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While Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are fighting over Michigan, Newt Gingrich is on a roadtrip through the South, the last place his poll numbers remain decent. Poor Gingrich has had to define down his goals quite a bit. He once bragged "I will be the nominee," now he says "I think for sure we're going to carry Georgia." That's an awfully low bar. He was first elected to office there in 1978, and now it seems like it's the only state where he feels welcome. 

SurveyUSA finds Gingrich polling 15 percentage points ahead of Santorum in Georgia over the weekend. A poll from Landmark/Rosetta Stone showed him 13 points ahead in the state a few days earlier. Gingrich traveled through Georgia this weekend, stopping by Nashville Monday, and starting on a two-day bus trip back through his homestate Tuesday. Another donation from billionaire Sheldon Adelson will allow Gingrich's super PAC to keep preaching to the choir (that is an actual Georgia choir listening to Gingrich this weekend pictured at left) with $1.75 million in ads, The Washington Post reports. Winning Our Future will buy TV ads in Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee, and Oklahoma, all Super Tuesday states, the Los Angeles TimesMatea Gold and Michael Finnegan report. The group will air ads in Mississippi, Alabama, and Kansas, too.

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It's also running radio ads nationally, using Gingrich's now-somewhat-tired themes. One of the radio ads sounds like a call-in show, with a guy saying of Romney:

"Somethin’ about him,” Joey says. “He’s not one of us. He’s not tough enough. And Rick? He ain’t my guy, either. What’s he ever done?... If you really want to stick it to the bums in D.C., it’s Newt. The guy’s a fighter. And he ain’t afraid to hurt nobody’s feelings.… You imagine what he’d do to Obama in a debate? He’d take him apart."

The TV ads are "man on the street" style:

But even if Gingrich is able to win a couple states on March 6, what will he do after that? It will be two weeks before Alabama and Mississippi vote. Texas doesn't vote till April 3 (or later). Maybe the goal isn't to create momentum to retake the frontrunner spot, but to leave the race on a happy note by being crowned Homecoming King.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.