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Gingrich snags support from IA and NH statehouse leaders

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Two top legislative leaders in Iowa and New Hampshire are set to endorse Newt Gingrich in the Republican presidential primary.

Iowa House Speaker Kraig Larsen and New Hampshire House Speaker are each expected to announce their support for Gingrich just weeks before their respective states host critical nominating contests.

The two speakers will appear together with Gingrich in Iowa on Wednesday before traveling to New Hampshire later that day for another endorsement event, according to the the New Hampshire Union Leader, which first reported the endorsements. Paulsen endorsed Fred Thompson in 2008. O'Brien did not endorse in the last cycle.

"Having a double endorsement would be a big win for the campaign. I hope it happens. We will wait and see," spokesman R.C. Hammond told NBC News, declining to comment directly on the endorsements.

It was widely expected that O'Brien would back Gingrich, but his support came only after flirtations with other campaigns. O'Brien had considered both Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and helped lead a delegation to Austin this summer meant to encourage Texas Gov. Rick Perry to enter the race. The state house speaker also defended Perry to critics following a particularly jovial and energetic speech in Manchester earlier this fall.

Over the past several months, O'Brien made it known that he would not endorse Mitt Romney, the longtime leader in polls in the Granite State.

O'Brien's endorsement is one of the last major one remaining in New Hampshire ahead of its Jan. 10 primary. N.H. Rep. Frank Guinta (R) is expected to make a decision in the coming weeks between Romney, Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Rep. Charlie Bass and Manchester mayor Ted Gastas have endorsed Romney.