Gingrich campaign chair says Florida is “volatile” but victory far from elusiveby Jane Musgrave | January 30th, 2012
ORLANDO – Win or lose on Tuesday in Florida, Newt Gingrich is going to score a victory against Mitt Romney, the former House Speaker’s national campaign chairman said today.
“What Florida is going to prove is that he did not knock Newt out early,” said former U.S. Rep. Bob Walker. “His plan was to knock him out in Florida and that’s not going to happen. We’re going to go on.”
Walker said it’s not clear what will happen Tuesday. “It’s very volatile,” he said of competing, and contradictory, polls that have been released over the last several days. In some, he pointed out, Gingrich is behind by double-digits. Other pollsters have said that the race is a near deadlock.
But, he said, Gingrich has gained valuable ground while Romney has spent a ton of money. “At one point we were down by 25 points in Florida. So, even in a worst case scenario, we’ve made up 13 points against a barrage of negative ads,” he said.
Further, he said, Romney has been financially wounded. He estimated the former Massachusetts governor has spent $25 million in the state. Even with his vast wealth, Romney can’t afford to do that in all 50 states. Gingrich said Romney outspent him 9 to 1.
Aside from cash, Walker said the upcoming election calendar, with its sweep through southern states on Super Tuesday, helps Gingrich.
“Even if the worst of worst happens in Florida, those votes will be more than offset by votes in Georgia several weeks later,” he said. Fifty delegates are at stake in the Sunshine State vs. the 76 that are up for grabs in neighboring Georgia, which sent Gingrich to Congress for 20 years.
“Don’t forget, we’re leading in delegates now because we won South Carolina,” Walker said. “We’ve got people on the ground all over the country. We’re running a 50-state campaign.”