Richmond, Virginia (CNN) - Newt Gingrich is campaigning in his home state Thursday after collecting 10,000 signatures needed to get on Virginia's primary ballot.
According to his campaign, they met the threshold yesterday but Gingrich told party faithful at a state GOP fundraising breakfast they expect to deliver petitions this afternoon with anywhere from 12,000-14,000 signatures.
A Gingrich spokesperson said the visit to Virginia was to help "push us over the top" and demonstrate the campaign's ground game capabilities compared to well-funded Mitt Romney.
"It's a demonstration that Gingrich is outrunning Romney in states beyond Iowa," said press secretary R.C. Hammond.
As all of the Republican presidential candidates race to meet Virginia's Thursday deadline, a new poll out Wednesday shows Gingrich topping Romney in the state ( http://on.cnn.com/w09wtS).
The Virginia primary is on March 6, Super Tuesday.
Hammond said they've been relying on a "network of hundreds of volunteers" in states that have high signature requirements to get on the ballot. He also acknowledged they paid a small percentage of volunteers to help with the process, which he said is not unusual.
Sources tell CNN that many of the volunteers gathering signatures were paid, which is not unusual in politics but reflects the extent of the effort.
Carla Bruno, who is volunteering for the Gingrich campaign in Virginia, said she's been helping get the required 400 certified registered voters from each of the 11 districts, including at least 10,000 signatures from across the state.
Gingrich met with Republican Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell prior to speaking and taking questions from approximately 200 breakfast attendees.
In an interview, McDonnell said he is staying "neutral and very much an observer of the race." Asked if he was going to endorse before the primary he said "I'm still weighing that. I'm neutral.
"I want the most principled, conservative candidate but also the one that can appeal best to independent voters because that's who's going to determine the election."
President Barack Obama won the state in 2008. He was the first Democrat to do so since 1964.
– CNN Political Reporter Peter Hamby contributed to this report.
- Follow Shawna Shepherd on Twitter: @ShepherdCNN.
Ron Paul defensive over past newsletters
Gingrich to Romney: Let's meet in the kitchen
Pro-Romney super PAC slams Gingrich
It seems to me that Gingrich did not see himself as a viable candidate when he announced his candidacy. f he did he would have had a better organization in place and not had to scramble as he has to get on ballots. I think he will most certainly guarantee Obama's reelection if he turns out to be the nominee .
See? And who said conducting book tours isn't really campaigning? You are getting out there with the people, face to face, discussing the issues and have them signing petitions for your ballot applicaiton. Newt knows what he's doing.
I am tempted to write a book of controversial Newt Gingrich quotes. The volume of hubris over the past 30 years is staggering, and much of the content disturbing. I think a good name for it could be "The Crass Menagerie". What do you think?
Oh, oh, Mittens. You are about to be rejected by the same republican party you are dividing. The Kochs and Rove should save their money until 2016.
The only thing Gingrich ever offered the American people was gridlock in the House. He did however usher through such disgusting legislation as The Defense of Marriage Act and Don't Ask, Don't Tell. He does not see the human worth of gay Americans. He could never be a president for all Americans. The Defense of Marriage Act passed under his tutelage while he and Bill Clinton both were practicing adultery. These two names should have never graced a piece of moral legislation. The hypocrisy of Gingrich is as about as bad as it gets. They have moved on in life and have prospered greatly in the American dream while gays and lesbians are left with a long trail of hypocritical legislation to to slog through. These are small men with small minds but huge libidos. Do as I say, not as I do does not make a leader. These pathetic old men never understood the promise of the United States Constitution and the hopes and dreams of gay Americans. The Constitution is our only hope and it is being used against us to further a religious narrative without consideration of the souls and spirits, hopes and dreams of this worthy subgroup of Americans.
Virginia, do not vote any of these Republicans thugs. They are for Oil, Greed, Corporate, Rich, Shipping jobs overseas for cheap labor....show me single Manufacturer....I bet bottom dollar, you do not...wake up. Vote direct Democratic ticket. god bless....Obama2012.
Gingeritch will fit in with Va's social engineering and religiously regressively motivated GOP, but the majority of our state – especially the more Democratic N. VA. – remembers how reckless and repulsive he is.
But Obama does have strong support in Va so maybe they'll support the Gingeritch – like the Repubs did in NC with that fake Dem (was it Green?) the Repubs voted in for their Senate primaries?
OMG – What 10,00 in VA did this? Oh, I forgot – Must be those "small pockets of America" in the western part of the state. Also, those "few" remaining supporters in my district "CAN'Tor=ville!" Don't hold your breath GRINCH – that is just about all you will get here!!!
Obama 2012 – Kaine 2012!!!
Newt the highest paid consultant in DC.
Newt Gingrich / Eric Cantor
Progress for the New Delirium 2012