Atlanta’s Newt Gingrich has received the endorsement of the influential Manchester Union Leader in New Hampshire, a huge boost for the 2012 GOP candidate and a blow to the campaign of Mitt Romney.
The endorsement of the conservative newspaper’s editorial board continues the impressive surge Gingrich has been on for the last few weeks after his campaign was left for dead a few months ago amidst mass staff defections. The endorsement also sets the former Speaker of the House apart from the other Republican hopefuls as the new anti-Romney candidate.
The Union Leader has held a significant amount of influence in Republican politics in New Hampshire for many years and played a major role in putting John McCain on the path to the GOP nomination four years ago. The paper does not just endorse a candidate and move on- once the paper endorses a candidate they use front page editorials and columns to continue to push their chosen one. That type of daily support from the largest newspaper in the state will have a tremendous positive impact on the Gingrich campaign not only in New Hampshire, but in other states as a result of the additional attention.
The endorsement of Gingrich is a blow to Romney, who had met several times with the editorial board in an attempt to win the coveted endorsement. Romney should not be surprised since four years earlier the newspaper threw its support to Arizona Sen. John McCain’s bid and used front page opinion columns and editorials to boost him and criticize chief rival Romney.
Excerpts from Manchester Union Leader endorsement:
-America is at a crucial crossroads. It is not going to be enough to merely replace Barack Obama next year. We are in critical need of the innovative, forward-looking strategy and positive leadership that Gingrich has shown he is capable of providing.
-Readers of the Union Leader and Sunday News know that we don’t back candidates based on popularity polls or big-shot backers. We look for conservatives of courage and conviction who are independent-minded, grounded in their core beliefs about this nation and its people, and best equipped for the job.
-Newt Gingrich is by no means the perfect candidate. But Republican primary voters too often make the mistake of preferring an unattainable ideal to the best candidate who is actually running. In this incredibly important election, that candidate is Newt Gingrich. He has the experience, the leadership qualities and the vision to lead this country in these trying times. He is worthy of your support on January 10.
New Hampshire is a must-win for Romney because his strategy in this campaign hinges on not only winning New Hampshire, but doing it in landslide fashion so that he would leave Hew Hampshire appearing to be the inevitable GOP nominee to challenge President Obama in the general election.
The former Massachusetts governor, who owns a home in New Hampshire, holds a substantial lead in the state based on a new Suffolk University/7 News survey. The poll results have Romney on top with 41 percent with Gingrich and Ron Paul tied for a distant second place with 14 percent.
With six weeks until the New Hampshire primary, The Union Leader’s move may reset the race. In recent weeks, Gingrich has seen a surge as Republicans focus more closely on deciding which candidate they believe can best take on Obama. While Romney is considered a final two candidate, the fluidity of the campaign to this point has shown that there is a large number of Republicans still searching for a candidate to throw their support behind.
In recent days, Gingrich has taken a solid lead in Iowa (the first state to cast votes) with Paul in second followed by Romney, Cain and Bachmann while in New Hampshire (the first primary state), Romney has a solid lead in the polls with Gingrich, Paul, Huntsman and Cain rounding out the top five.
Texas Congressman Paul continues to have strong showings in many states. In addition to being in a position to actually win Iowa and finish in the top three in New Hampshire, Paul recently won the Illinois straw poll with 52 percent.
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