Former Congressman Newt Gingrich announced Wednesday that he would end his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. His support in Georgia was deep but it wasn’t enough to boost his broader Southern strategy.
Gingrich won primaries in Georgia and South Carolina, and he believed deep support in the South would catapult him to the nomination.
He had the backing of Georgia’s top Republicans, including Gov. Nathan Deal.
But outside of Georgia, he lost decisive Southern primaries in Tennessee and Alabama, says Merle Black, an Emory University political science professor.
“Part of Gingrich’s problem was that he couldn’t get endorsements in other states of similarly situated governors or other public officials," he said in a phone interview. "The Mississippi Republican Governor actually endorsed Romney, rather than Gingrich.”
Black says it’s notable that none of Gingrich’s former Congressional colleagues endorsed him.
The presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, won 21 of Georgia’s delegates while Gingrich won 52.
Gingrich's announcement frees up the Georgia Republican Party to begin planning campaign events with and for Romney.
In an interview last week, state GOP spokesman Chris Kelleher said once Romney wins enough delegates for the nomination, Georgia Republicans will begin actively campaigning for him.
“I think there are a lot of things we can move forward with now that we are very close to having a nominee," he said. "We sort of had to sit on the sidelines before and wait, and we can really work with the candidate to unite our efforts.”
Kelleher says Romney still needs another 300 delegates to become the official nominee.