Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Newt Gingrich, GOP Frontrunner, Plays Campaign-Cash Catch Up

Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks with a supporter in New York City, Monday, Dec. 5, 2011.
Seth Wenig
Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks with a supporter in New York City, Monday, Dec. 5, 2011.

When it comes to polls, Newt Gingrich is a strong frontrunner. New surveys in Iowa and South Carolina show him lapping the rest of the Republican presidential field and holding strong double digit leads.

But when it comes to money, the essential for running an effective modern campaign, Gingrich is still not a top-tier candidate.

The Iowa caucuses are now less than a month away which means the former House speaker is running out of time to raise the money he needs to compete like a frontrunner in that state and beyond.

Through the third quarter which ended September 30, Gingrich had only raised $2.9 million and had $353,417 cash on hand.

That compared with $18.4 million Mitt Romney had raised and his $14.6 million of available cash; Texas Gov. Rick Perry's $17.2 million and $15.1 million in cash, and Rep. Ron Paul's $12.8 million raised and $3.7 million on hand for the same period.

Gingrich who, until recently, had languished back in the polls for much of the race before becoming the frontrunner as other candidacies crashed and burned, clearly has a lot of catching up to do. And he's trying.

Nicholas Confessore at the New York Times reports that Gingrich's campaign says it has raised nearly $4 million since the fourth quarter began as he has risen become the latest but certainly not the least non-Romney to take a turn at the top of the field.

The NY Times also reports:

"As of September, only 293 donors had given Mr. Gingrich the maximum primary donation of $2,500; Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, Representative Ron Paul of Texas, and Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the former governor of Utah, all attracted more such donors. And Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, reported nearly 8,000 donors who had contributed the maximum, while Gov. Rick Perry of Texas had close to 5,000.

"But Mr. Gingrich has a number of factors working in his favor. In the years since he stepped down as speaker, he has built a network of consulting and advocacy groups that has allowed him to develop a fund-raising base and ties to executives in industries like health care and energy..."

According to Kenneth P. Vogel and Anna Palmer in, Gingrich is gearing up his efforts to tap donors on K Street in Washington, home to the lobbyists who Gingrich has consulted with in his days since leaving Capitol Hill in 1997. Unthinkable before his surge in the polls, he's now planning big-donor events where more of those $2,500 checks can be written.

An excerpt:

"Big donor events 'would not have been possible until his campaign took off,' said a veteran GOP fundraiser who is not working for any of the presidential campaigns. 'Lobbyists are no different than big donors out in the states; they want to give to somebody who is seen as bringing some viability.'

"Ken Kies, an influential tax lobbyist who – along with his wife – maxed out to Gingrich's campaign this spring and are among the hosts of Wednesday's event, agreed.

" 'K Street is predictable. It is full of people who see a parade and love to jump in front,' said Kies. 'Newt is the parade. The guys who signed on with Perry now realize they bought an Edsel and the guys with Romney now see he can't get above 25 percent.' "

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit

Frank James joined NPR News in April 2009 to launch the blog, "The Two-Way," with co-blogger Mark Memmott.
Related Content