Just a day after Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich cut staff and reduced his travel schedule, the former House speaker said on Wednesday that he’s staying in the race to promote ideas and make front-runner Mitt Romney earn the GOP nomination.
“Mitt Romney doesn’t have 1,144 delegates,” Gingrich said in an interview with Washington talk-radio station WTOP, referring to the number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination. “There’s no sign yet that he’s guaranteed getting 1,144. For some reason everybody in the establishment is chanting that [Rick] Santorum and I should quit. Well, Romney has to earn this. It’s not going to be given to him. And we have every right to run.”
Gingrich dismissed a question of whether his decision to stay in the race was at all personal or due to a “dislike” for Romney, and accused the media of pettiness. “Why do you guys try to reduce leading America to the smallest and pettiest and most personal questions? It’s about representing a set of ideas and a set of values that are really important,” he said.
At this point, Gingrich’s only path forward comes down to a scenario in which no candidate reaches 1,144 delegates by the time of the first floor vote at the Republican convention in Tampa, leading to a contested convention. Gingrich’s chief of staff, Patrick Millsaps, called this a “jump ball” during an interview on Friday on MSNBC.
“In order to participate, you’ve got to be there,” Millsaps said. He called the staff reductions and other financial cuts part of a change of strategy that would allow Gingrich to remain in the race through the August convention. “We’ve made the cuts, we are looking at the ways of being more lean and still accomplishing the goal. We’ll go through this, we’ll figure this out and be onto Tampa and have the most interesting open convention of a generation,” he said.