GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Monday acknowledged that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has replaced him as the front-runner in the race for the Republican nomination and said he expects the primary fight to last through the California primary on June 5, Politico reported on Monday.
The former Massachusetts governor said the nomination “is not going to be decided in just a couple of contests” and “could go for months and months.” He also made it clear that he would rather lose than make incendiary charges about Gingrich that could help President Obama in the general election.
Romney's comments illustrate just how much Gingrich's rise in the polls has thrown the erstwhile front-runner off his game. At one time, Romney no doubt entertained hopes making a respectable showing or winning in Iowa and then going on to blitz New Hampshire, which could have give him significant momentum going into contests in South Carolina and Florida.
But recent polls show Gingrich ahead in Iowa and poised to catch up with Romney in New Hampshire.
“It’s a very fluid electorate,” Romney said in an interview with Politico at a diner in Manchester, N.H. “I think I’ll get the nomination. I can’t predict when.… I’ve got – what? – five or six months to go to make that a reality.”
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