I'll fight on, vows Gingrich after cutting campaign staff by a third

Former Speaker now hopes party convention 'coup' will win him the nomination

He is not dropping out, because that is not his style, but Newt Gingrich – the self-possessed former speaker of the House of Representatives – is curtailing his effort to win the remaining primary elections in the Republican nomination race to focus on a possible floor fight at the party convention in August.

The announcement from Camp Gingrich that it is cancelling campaign appearances and laying off about a third of its staff amounts to an admission, after winning only two states so far, that it no longer has any way to amass the delegates needed for Mr Gingrich to be crowned at the Tampa convention.

While Mr Gingrich will now largely abandon the state-by-state grind of primaries and caucuses, he will direct his energies towards preventing Mitt Romney, the clear front-runner, from reaching the 1,144-delegate threshold that would entitle him to claim the nomination in Tampa without debate.

So long as the former Massachusetts Governor is still short of that number, Mr Gingrich said yesterday, "I owe it to the people that helped me for the last year to represent their views and their values." He added: "Romney has to earn this. It's not going to be given to him."

The strategy seems far-fetched. For one, the chances of Mr Romney not attaining the magic number of delegates are looking ever more unlikely. Even if the convention were to begin with no resolution to the race, it seems hardly credible that Mr Gingrich would emerge as the consensus nominee. Mr Romney was last night on his way to Texas to bask today in the expected endorsement of George H W Bush, the former President, which will be seen as further evidence that the party establishment is at last showing willingness to rally behind him.

Mr Romney is narrowly favoured by opinion polls to beat Rick Santorum, his last serious rival, in a key primary in Wisconsin on Tuesday. Polls also show a lead held by Mr Santorum in his native Pennsylvania, which votes next month, vaporising fast. But, in fresh evidence that the primary process is hurting Mr Romney, an ABC-Washington Post poll showed that the number of Americans who view him negatively has reached a new high, 50 per cent. Just as ominously, only 34 per cent viewed him favourably, compared with 53 per cent for President Barack Obama.

Money was surely a big factor behind Mr Gingrich's partial retreat. Data submitted to the Federal Elections Commission showed he had $1.5m cash in hand by the end of February, but faced paying $1.5m in debts.

"One of the things I was told very early on in presidential politics is that you run for president as long as the money hangs on," Mr Santorum said of Mr Gingrich's decisions. He was swift to add: "I think it is time for all the Republican candidates to coalesce behind me. You know, let's just have a conservative nominee to take on Barack Obama. Until that time happens, I'm not going to call on anyone to get out."

If, by the final primary in Utah at the end of June, Mr Romney is still shy of 1,144 delegates, Mr Gingrich would fire up his campaign. "We're going to make sure Newt is ready to win that 60-day period," Joe DeSantis, his communications manager, said. "What we're going to be doing is focus on a campaign strategy that takes it to Obama."

State of play: How the Republican rivals compare

Newt Gingrich

Number of delegates for Republican convention: 135

He is: the former Speaker in the House of Representatives

Known for: leading Republican takeover of Congress in 1994, half-way through Bill Clinton's first term as President

Mitt Romney

Number of delegates for Republican convention: 568

He is: the former Governor of Massachusetts

Known for: signing "Obamacare"-style health reforms into state law when he was governor

Rick Santorum

Number of delegates for Republican convention: 273

He is: the former US Senator for Pennsylvania

Known for: was a rising star in the Senate but lost a third term re-election battle to a Democrat in 2006.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, RSPSS, R, AI, CPLEX, SQL)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Law Costs

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution