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SC Sources: Gingrich Could Endorse Santorum

Sources within the campaign of surging Rick Santorum indicate Newt Gingrich, should he drop out of the race, plans to support the former Pennsylvania senator.

While Newt Gingrich campaign staffers are calling such talk premature, there are indications that should the former House Speaker bow out of the GOP race, he would throw his support behind rising Rick Santorum in a last-ditch effort to stop frontrunner Mitt Romney.

Multiple South Carolina sources affiliated with Santorum's campaign said Gingrich's campaign has contacted Santorum's campaign to discuss endorsing the former Pennsylvania senator should he drop out. 

One source, speaking to Patch on the condition they not be identified, paraphrased Gingrich's stance as delivered by high level campaign staff this way: "If it can't be me, I want it to be Rick Santorum.""

Gingrich is looking at finishing as low as fifth place in New Hampshire and is currently polling at under 20 percent (good for third place) in South Carolina, according to rolling averages from Real Clear Politics.

Still, high-ranking officials within Santorum's South Carolina campaign don't foresee Gingrich stalling out before the primaries in the Palmetto State, where he once commanded an imposing lead in the polls. 

Kerry Wood, state director for Santorum, declined to comment.

And Gresham Barrett, the former congressman and chairman of Santorum's campaign in SC, would not respond directly. But he did say: "We would of course love to have Newt Gingrich's support. If the former Speaker is looking to land somewhere closer his own beliefs, it would seem Rick Santorum is a natural fit."

Just last week, Gingrich did little to squash any notion that he was open to teaming up with Santorum, telling prominent radio host Laura Ingraham that Romney's support represented but a small portion of the GOP electorate when compared to the still un-coalesced voting block further to the right that had been divided by Gov. Rick Perry, Gingrich, Santorum and Rep. Michele Bachmann. 

"I mean Rick and I have a 20-year friendship, we are both rebels, we both came into this business as reformers, we both dislike deeply the degree to which the establishment sells out the American people," Gingrich told Ingraham.

"We both think Washington has to be changed in very fundamental ways, and we have lots of things that fit together."

But Leslie Gaines, deputy state director of Gingrich's South Carolina campaign, called such talk "premature."

"I really can't answer that question," Gaines said. "I've not heard that."

SDR January 11, 2012 at 12:44 PM
A Gingrich endorsement of Santorum would mean a deal has been done. Just say no to politics as usual, support Ron Paul.
maizenbluedoc January 11, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Gingrich would support anyone to get even with Romney. The vindictive Newt has finally arrived. Deja vu Newt.
Billy January 11, 2012 at 10:23 PM
ill say it now and maybe im wrong but i think its a romney-santorum ticket in the end?

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