SC GOP leaders push for Gingrich to leave presidential race - - Columbia, South Carolina

SC GOP leaders push for Gingrich to leave presidential race

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich left the Palmetto State in late January with a decisive victory in the state GOP primary.

Despite that victory, Gingrich would not win another primary or caucus again until Tuesday night when he won the primary in his home state of Georgia.

Now, the former director of Gingrich's campaign here in South Carolina says it's time for the Speaker to end his campaign.

"We've come through Super Tuesday. We see how it's stacked up, and now is the time to start manning up and making those concrete decisions," DeLinda Ridings said.

Ridings, who spearheaded the former Speaker's impressive South Carolina victory, is one Republican Party leader who worries that Gingrich and rival Rick Santorum are now hurting GOP chances to defeat President Barack Obama in the general election.

"[Gingrich] has tried really hard, but I think it's time to drop, and it's time to put our allegiance behind the man that I believe can beat Barack Obama, and that's Mitt Romney," Ridings said.

Also at risk for South Carolina republicans is their status as the proven pickers of their party's presidential nominee.

Before the state's January primary, South Carolina Republicans turned their 30-year track record of predicting the nominee into the marketing slogan  "We Pick Presidents".

Despite his Georgia and South Carolina triumphs, Gingrich still faces a nearly impossible task of collecting enough delegates to take the nomination.

Palmetto Republicans may have to come up with a new catchphrase.

"I think anybody who comes here in 2016 or 2020 and beyond is just gonna take South Carolina just as seriously," Matt Moore of SC GOP said. "It may change the marketing depending on what happens in the next few months, but South Carolina, after Iowa and New Hampshire, traditionally is the first tough test for a candidate that wants to be taken seriously nationally."

Fundraising pioneer and Conservative activist Richard Viguerie also suggested Gingrich call off his campaign and throw his support to Santorum.

Gingrich remains defiant. He says he'll remain in the race for the upcoming primaries in Alabama and Mississippi and caucuses in Kansas.

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