ALEXANDRIA, La. -- Once again, Newt Gingrich was not present in a state where Republicans went to the polls. This time, as voters in Illinois were handing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney a solid victory, the former House speaker was nearly 500 miles away in Louisiana, where he ended his public schedule late in the afternoon and chose to do an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity rather than hold an election-night rally.
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Calls for Gingrich to end his campaign are bound to increase after his last-place showing in Illinois, where he was able to muster only 8 percent of the vote. He made his usual pledge on the Hannity show to stay in the race, but his fundraising is drying up, his schedule is lightening, and Republican National Committee rules raise questions about what he could accomplish by pressing on to the August convention in Tampa.
Gingrich told Hannity he had chosen to focus on the South, where he believes he had a better chance of winning. His only victories in 33 contests to date have been in South Carolina and his home state of Georgia. But his Southern strategy didn’t work in Alabama and Mississippi, which he lost earlier this month after saying he had to win one or both to be credible. And as he stumped across the northern part of the Bayou State on Tuesday, Gingrich did not predict a victory in the upcoming weekend primary. Instead, he talked up the potential for collecting convention delegates.