MONTGOMERY, AL -- Wins in both Alabama and Mississippi next week are essential for Newt Gingrich to stay credible in the 2012 presidential race, his campaign spokesman acknowledged Wednesday.
“A big win in Georgia kept us in the race. Big wins in Alabama and Mississippi will add even more fuel to the tank,” Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond told reporters.
The former House Speaker himself continued to raise expectations in the Yellowhammer State.
“I believe Alabama has a major role to play in setting the stage for the presidential nomination,” Gingrich told the crowd here during his first event post-Super Tuesday where he only placed higher than third in one of eleven states.
While Gingrich is still running second in delegate count as of this morning, according to NBC News, with 111 delegates [Mitt Romney 339; Santorum 107], many people, including his competitors, question how he can continue on much longer without actually winning more states. The Speaker has only won South Carolina and Georgia.
The campaign feels it is so essential to focus on these two states, where voters take to the polls on March 13, that they will skip campaigning in Kansas.
After sending out a press schedule just yesterday with the subject line: “Newt and Callista Gingrich Announce Campaign Stops in Kansas,” Hammond told reporters Wednesday morning there has been a change in schedule.
“Gingrich," he said, "will be here in Alabama and Mississippi."
The former Speaker’s attendance at the six scheduled campaign appearances in all four of Kansas’s congressional districts have been cancelled, including a Newt 2012 Big 12 Tournament Basketball Watch Party.
The move to not campaign in Kansas, although the campaign says it will still utilize resources there, is in line with Gingrich’s Southern strategy.
“Everything from Spartanburg all the way to Texas, they all need to go for Gingrich,” Hammond said.
Gingrich placed third in both the Tennessee and Oklahoma primaries Tuesday but has high hopes next week in Alabama and Mississippi.