ORLANDO, Fla — Although he confidently told cheering supporters here on Monday night that “we’re going to win in Florida tomorrow,” Newt Gingrich was also looking ahead to what lies beyond the Sunshine State’s Republican primary Jan. 31st.
When he spoke to HUMAN EVENTS as he worked the crowd at his primary eve rally at the Renaissance Hotel, Gingrich said he would definitely compete in the Nevada Republican caucuses scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 4. But, the former House speaker quickly echoed an earlier assessment from his national campaign chairman Bob Walker by noting to us that it was going to be an uphill climb for him in Nevada “because of the large number of Mormons.” (In ’08, Mitt Romney was a runaway winner in Nevada and numerous press reports attributed this victory to the well-organized effort by his fellow Mormons in turning out supporters for the caucus.)
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Gingrich also pointed out that he expected to be very strong in caucuses scheduled for Minnesota and Colorado during the first week of February. When we asked if he felt the same about Arizona’s primary later in February, he replied “yes, absolutely.”
“We are going to be competitive in all of the states except Virginia, where we screwed up,” Gingrich told us, referring to the much-publicized failure of his campaign to get on the ballot for its primary. When HUMAN EVENTS asked whether he would compete in Missouri (where he had also failed to achieve primary ballot status), he replied “Yes” and reminded us that the primary in the Show-Me State is a “beauty contest” that doesn’t choose delegates. Missouri’s national convention delegates will be picked at a state convention weeks after the primary and has a tendency to attract more conservative participants. In 1976, challenger Ronald Reagan’s supporters shut out backers of President Gerald Ford at a convention still vividly recalled as the “Springfield massacre.”