While Mitt Romney continues to rack up delegates, each of the other three GOP candidates must still be able to see a path to the nomination for himself. Otherwise, they’d drop out, right?
For Newt Gingrich, that path runs through Georgia and — he hopes — Tennessee, Ohio, Texas and Oklahoma.
Gingrich predicted during an appearance at the Georgia Statehouse that he will win the state’s contest. Georgia is one of 10 holding primaries and caucuses next Tuesday and Gingrich predicted he’d “win it decisively.”
“That is the key building block that we have to have to move forward in the presidential campaign. Georgia really does matter,” Gingrich said. He was joined by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and a few dozen legislators, but took no questions from reporters.
The former House speaker has made clear he needs a win in Georgia on Super Tuesday, but has stopped short of saying a loss would force him from the race. He told CNN on Tuesday that “we unequivocally have to win Georgia.”
Betting on the South, Gingrich skipped primaries in Michigan and Arizona – both won by Mitt Romney – to save money and focus on delegate-rich states that vote with Georgia on March 6, including Tennessee, Ohio and Oklahoma.
Gingrich has a comfortable lead in Georgia; the RCP poll average puts him nine points ahead of his competitors in his home state. He doesn’t, however, fare nearly so well in the other states he’s supposedly targeting. In Ohio, for example, Gingrich polls at an average of 18 percent, behind Santorum’s 34.3 percent and Mitt Romney’s 26 percent. In Tennessee, Gingrich polls in fourth place, according to the Vanderbilt poll. Oklahoma looks similarly unconquerable for Gingrich.
Yet, today, Gingrich has at least one bit of poll improvement to tout: His Gallup support rating jumped two points today. With his personal life out of the limelight and his ideas about energy policy front-and-center, at least a few folks apparently have remembered Gingrich ain’t all bad.
Newt Gingrich has engineered two comebacks already. Is a third out of the realm of possibility? Never say never.