Timing of Gingrich Exit From GOP Race Has Observers Scratching Their Heads

Newt Gingrich will exit the presidential race — but not until next week, raising eyebrows about what exactly the former Speaker hopes to achieve in his final days on the campaign trail.

The conventional wisdom is that Gingrich is taking some kind of strange victory lap, gathering family and supporters in North Carolina for a final hurrah before exiting stage right.

But Gingrich is also looking to position himself as an influential figure at this summer's Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., repair some of the relationships he has strained through the bruising GOP primary process and work to settle the massive debt his campaign has accrued in recent months.

"His real path forward is as a spokesman for the Romney and the GOP pressing Obama on energy prices," said Republican strategist Ford O'Connell. "It really depends how he conducts himself, but if he's the only one really good at synthesizing 15-second sound bites to describe America's energy woes, that could make him valuable for the GOP going into November." 

Gingrich will also look to settle the substantial debt his campaign has accreted as he’s slipped in the polls. According to Federal Election Commission filings, at the end of last month, Gingrich’s campaign carried more than $4.3 million in debt.

“I think a lot of this is just closing down — dotting the I’s and crossing the T's,” O’Connell said. “It's most likely geared to raise money to pay down his enormous debt.”

Read more from Justin Sink at The Hill

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published this page in In The News 2012-04-26 01:01:56 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy