Sources inside the campaign of Newt Gingrich are stating that the former Speaker intends to exit the campaign next Tuesday and will likely endorse Mitt Romney at the same time. The decision follows a major defeat in the Delaware primary, the state which Gingrich had hung his last campaign hopes on.
Report from Fox News:
Newt Gingrich plans to formally leave the Republican presidential race next Tuesday, senior campaign aides told Fox News.
The former House speaker will “more than likely” endorse Mitt Romney when he makes his announcement to either suspend or end the campaign, a source said.
The decision comes after Gingrich huddled with senior advisers following the five primaries Romney swept on Tuesday night. Romney’s victories made it virtually impossible for Gingrich to secure the 1,144 delegates needed for the Republican nomination.
For several weeks, Gingrich staffers have been reviewing accounts and making preparations. Gingrich had been holding out hope for a strong performance at least in Delaware Tuesday night. Absent that, Gingrich decided to plan for his exit next week.
He will complete his North Carolina schedule this week, making it something of a goodbye tour while supporters, friends and family arrive from across the country for his departure from the race.
Earlier on the trail, Gingrich signaled Wednesday morning that he was preparing to drop out. Telling a breakfast gathering of county Republicans in North Carolina that it’s clear Romney will be the nominee, Gingrich said the campaign is “working out the details of our transition” and will have more information in the coming days.
I am assuming that following the Santorum departure, Gingrich wanted a contest in a 1-on-1 with Romney with hopes to build a conservative coalition able to eek out some victories. Tuesday night proved that wasn’t going to happen and there really isn’t a path forward for Gingrich. The beneficiary of this can only be Ron Paul who will probably collect some votes from Gingrich’s exit, especially the “not-Romney” holdouts. Obviously Mitt Romney will benefit also since 2 out of his 3 major remaining opponents have exited or will be exiting the race and both will be endorsing him.