Newt Gingrich enjoys cash boost after South Carolina primary

 

Cash is pouting into the Newt Gingrich campaign for the Republican presidential nomination after the stunning surge and upset victory over Mitt Romney.

His campaign team said he had raised more than a million dollars in just hours - money that is much needed as the primary battle moves into Florida.

The former speaker of the House of Representatives ravaged the sense of inevitability surrounding Romney's second run for the nomination, with a remarkable 12% defeat of the former Massachusetts governor in Saturday's South Carolina primary election.

But the next contest, in the far larger and more diverse state of Florida on January 31, will require huge spending on television advertising and Mr Gingrich so far has been underfunded.

His sudden rise of fortunes has relied on the free media attention he has gained through stellar televised debate performances, particularly one last Thursday in South Carolina. He roundly attacked what he termed the "elite" media and political class, then went on to trounce the patrician Romney, a former venture capitalist whose wealth is estimated at up to 250 million dollars (£160 million).

Mr Gingrich took pleasure in the discomfort he is causing among the Republican establishment that backs Mr Romney.

"I think you're going to see the establishment go crazy in the next week or two," he said on ABC television.

Mr Gingrich moves toward the Florida primary vote claiming that he, not Mr Romney, is the candidate best able to deny Barack Obama a second term in the White House in the November election.

The Gingrich campaign said he is using the influx of money to hire additional staff and to open new offices in Florida, a key swing state in the general election.

Mr Romney has responded to his drubbing in South Carolina, where until just days ago he was expected to win and seal the Republican nomination as the inevitable candidate, by going on the attack against Mr Gingrich.

"He had to resign in disgrace. I don't know whether you knew that," Mr Romney said of Mr Gingrich's time as House speaker in the 1990s.

Mr Gingrich was given an ethics reprimand by the lower congressional chamber. He also carries the baggage of three marriages and acknowledged marital infidelities, facts that should deny him support from the evangelical Christian base of the party. But those voters clearly overlooked his past in South Carolina, one of the most conservative US states. The primary there was the first in a Southern state.

AP

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