Gingrich reduces staff, cuts schedule in bid to save his campaign

Newt Gingrich will reduce his campaign schedule and lay off a third of his staff in order to keep his presidential bid afloat until the Republican National Convention, according to a senior aide.

Campaign manager Michael Krull, who took over after a mass resignation staged by staffers last June, will be replaced by deputy campaign manager Vince Haley.

ADVERTISEMENT
Another dozen staff members split between campaign headquarters in Arlington, Va., and in primary states will be let go by the end of the month, Gingrich communications director Joe DeSantis confirmed to The Hill.

Gingrich also will reduce the pace of his campaign in future primary states, instead relying on social media and internet advertising to convey the campaign's platform.

The strategy shift comes at a critical time for the former speaker, who hopes to stay relevant in a bruising Republican primary where he has struggled to gain traction against rivals Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. And it will raise questions about the viability of his campaign.

Gingrich has long said his goal is to stay in the race until the Republican convention in Tampa, Fla., in August.

But he has a problem -- money.

He admitted to NBC News earlier Tuesday that "money is very tight" with his campaign.

"I have the money to keep going,” Gingrich said while campaigning in Baltimore. “We’re working through what it is going to take to get [to the convention]."

His other problem is delegates. He's admitted he wants to keep Romney, the front-runner, from reaching the 1,144 delegates necessary to clinch the nomination.

He has only won two states, however: Georgia, the state he represented for two decades in the U.S. Congress, and neighboring South Carolina.

According to the latest delegate count by the Associated Press, Gingrich's 135 delegates significantly trails Romney's 568 delegates and Santorum's 273 delegates.

Tough losses in Southern contests like Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana further undermined the former speaker's chance at securing the GOP nomination. And they also scared donors away from Gingrich's campaign.

In Federal Election Committee filings released earlier this month, the campaign had more debt than cash on hand, a figure that has likely worsened as Gingrich campaigns in the Washington, D.C. area ahead of the upcoming Maryland and D.C. primaries, which take place April 3.

Signs of financial strife have cropped up on the campaign trail in recent days. A planned trip to North Carolina was scrapped, and Gingrich staffers began asking supporters to donate $50 in order to get copies of photographs with the candidate taken after public events.

The changes will also mean major changes to the internal organization of Team Gingrich - starting at the top.

Krull, the former national director of Gingrich's American Solutions political action committee, stepped into his role after former campaign manager Rob Johnson left the campaign last summer. At the time, a number of Gingrich staffers resigned after the former speaker and wife Callista left the campaign trail to take a cruise through the Greek isles.

His replacement, Vince Haley, was the vice president of policy at the political action committee and worked as Gingrich's research director at the American Enterprise Institute. Haley started working for Gingrich in 2003 at the Center for Health Transformation, Gingrich's health care policy consulting group.

The campaign said that delegate counter John Fluharty and spokesman R.C. Hammond will remain with the campaign.

Gingrich is scheduled to campaign in Washington Wednesday, while Callista has a number of appearances in her home state of Wisconsin scheduled. Wisconsin's primary is also April 3.

Santorum seemed sympathic to Gingrich after the news broke late Tuesday evening.

"One of the things I was told very early on in presidential politics is that you run for president as long as the money hangs on," he said.

"Obviously, financially, it's tough. I can certainly understand that. So I don't know what his plans are. As I've said before, were going to run the race irrespective of who's in and who's out. I think what we're seeing is the race is clearly becoming a two-person race. I've seen polls here in Wisconsin showing that. Were just going to stay focused.

"Newt's a good man, as you know and a good friend. I just wish him the best with whatever he decides to do."