Report: Gingrich, Santorum mulled unity ticket vs. Romney

Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum considered joining forces during the Republican presidential primaries last year to stop front-runner Mitt Romney, according to a report released Friday in Bloomberg Businessweek.

The report quotes strategists close to both candidates as saying the move would have “sent shock waves through the establishment and the Romney campaign.”

The talks fell apart when the two dark horse candidates couldn’t agree on who should be the presidential candidate and who should be the vice presidential candidate, according to the report.

Gingrich, a former Speaker of the House, was focused on a Southern strategy at the time. After winning the South Carolina primary, he was briefly seen as a real challenger to Romney. 

However, Romney quickly adjusted, and his superior fundraising and campaign infrastructure helped him coast to victory over Gingrich in the Florida primary.

Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, then saw his fortunes rise as the conservative alternative to Romney.

The two discussed the joint effort ahead of the Michigan primary, believing a Romney loss in his home state would be lethal to his campaign. The talks fell through, and Romney went on to squeak out a victory in Michigan after Santorum’s momentum was derailed.

The report also says the Santorum campaign initially floated the idea of Gingrich withdrawing and endorsing Santorum in the middle of a live televised debate.