During an interview on Fox News Sunday Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich said that candidates must win races in their home states or face serious questions about continuing in the race. The comment comes as rival Mitt Romney appears to be struggling in Michigan, where the former Massachusetts governor was born and his father was governor, before the state’s primary on February 28.
If Romney loses in Michigan, “I don’t know see what he says the next morning to his donors to stay in the race,” Gingrich said.
That said, Gingrich acknowledged that he must win the March 6 vote in Georgia, where he served as a congressman and has been heavily campaigning over the last week with former candidate Herman Cain. Surging candidate Rick Santorum will run in his home Pennsylvania this April, which appears to be a key swing state in the general election like Romney’s Michigan.
“If any of the three loses our home state … you have, I think, very, very badly weakened candidacies,” Gingrich said. “I was home campaigning for the last two days precisely to say to all of my friends back home, Georgia really matters. You cannot take this for granted.”
Gingrich stopped short of saying he would drop out if he lost Georgia “given the chaos of this race.”
The Associated Press notes that the Republican candidates face a series of nine primaries and four caucuses between now and Super Tuesday on March 6. At stake are 518 delegates, more than three times the number awarded so far. Georgia has the biggest delegate haul at stake, 76. The pro-Romney group Restore Our Future is targeting Gingrich in television ads in the state, according to AP, hoping to deny the former House speaker a sweep of the delegates and leave some on the table for Romney to scoop up.