published Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Newt Gingrich to bring campaign to Dalton


by Chris Carroll
Republican presidential candidates, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich argue a point during a Republican presidential debate Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, in Mesa, Ariz. Gingrich will be in Dalton, Ga., Tuesday.
Republican presidential candidates, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich argue a point during a Republican presidential debate Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, in Mesa, Ariz. Gingrich will be in Dalton, Ga., Tuesday.
Photo by Associated Press.

IF YOU GO

What: Campaign rally for GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich

Where: Northwest Georgia Trade & Convention Center, 2211 Dug Gap Battle Road, Dalton, Ga.

When: 11 a.m.-noon. Tuesday.

Admission: Free

Newt Gingrich will hold a campaign rally Tuesday in Dalton, Ga., ensuring Rick Santorum won't be the only Republican presidential candidate to visit the Chattanooga area before Tennessee and Georgia residents cast primary votes March 6.

"There are a lot of good super-conservatives in Northwest Georgia," Gingrich spokeswoman Susan Meyers said, "and Newt wants to see them, shake their hands and say hello to them."

The former U.S. House speaker will appear at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center. That will be three days after Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, headlines a Chattanooga Tea Party event at Abba's House, a large Southern Baptist church in Hixson.

The Gingrich event is one week before Tennessee, Georgia and eight other states host presidential primaries on what's known as "Super Tuesday."

A recent poll shows Santorum leading in Tennessee, but the race is much closer in Georgia.

According to a poll of 625 likely Georgia voters from Atlanta's WAGA-TV and Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Gingrich had 26 percent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney got 24 percent and Santorum won 23 percent.

But Gingrich's home-state lead is slim -- the poll has a 4-point margin of error.

Georgia has 76 delegates in play, the most of any state voting on Super Tuesday. Tennessee has 58.

Representatives for Gingrich had no immediate word on whether the candidate would visit Chattanooga before the primary. The Chattanooga Tea Party initially reached out to Gingrich for the Santorum event, but discussions fell through.

"We would welcome Newt," Chattanooga Tea Party President Mark West said. "He doesn't communicate with us directly, obviously, but I think it would be a great thing for more of the candidates to come to our community."

A spokesman for the Georgia Democratic Party could not be reached Wednesday.

It was unclear Wednesday what Gingrich will discuss at the Dalton rally. Asked if his campaign would release advertisements in the area before March 6, Meyers declined comment.

"Like any good football coach, we're not going to reveal our strategy on that," she said.

After Dalton, Gingrich is expected to stop in Atlanta, Carrollton, Covington, Gainesville and Rome in a two-day Georgia mix of campaign rallies and fundraisers. His Tennessee events include stops in Nashville and Franklin.

To this point, Romney and another GOP presidential candidate, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, haven't scheduled anything nearby.

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