Newt Gingrich, who once vowed to take the nomination fight “all the way to the convention,” is wounded. Wounded pretty badly, too. He hasn’t won a single contest since South Carolina, and his dialed back his campaign to try to win some Southern contests and conserve resources. Newt absolutely has to win his home state of Georgia this Super Tuesday – failure to do anything but win the state he’s been campaigning heavily in for weeks basically means he can’t win the nomination.
So it’s fortunate for Gingrich that he’s polling well in his home state, with a solid lead over his rivals. It’s also fortunate for Mitt Romney. Any win that prevents Gingrich from dropping out will further spilt the conservative vote between Santorum and the former Speaker of the House, giving him the edge. Knowing this, Santorum should go for the knockout blow and try to wrest Georgia from Newt (a doable task), but he’s instead bogged down in Ohio, trying to hold on after his lead evaporated.
All these developments bode well for Gingrich – and Romney. The trouble for Gingrich is that his campaign is not competitive in any primary outside of the South, and it needs to be to win. Even in some Southern states, Gingrich has struggled, failing, for example, to turn in enough signatures to even make the ballot in Virgina. Even if Gingrich gets the win in Georgia, it’s hard to see a path forward to the nomination in May – a sure sign that Newt’s quest is in jeopardy.