January 30th, 2012
05:39 PM ET
3 years ago

Gingrich backer calls support for Santorum 'wasted'

(CNN) – Newt Gingrich's Florida state chair all but called on Rick Santorum to drop from the shrinking GOP field Monday, expecting the bump would go to his candidate.

"He's a factor in this race, if he weren't in it, we'd clearly be beating Romney right now," Bill McCollum, the state's former Attorney General, said on "CNN Newsroom."

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Polling of likely Florida GOP voters released over the weekend, however, shows the Santorum vote would split nearly evenly between Gingrich, the former House speaker, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. In that hypothetical, Romney would lead Gingrich 49% to 33% in the state, according to the NBC News/Marist survey.

The former Pennsylvania senator has said repeatedly that he foresees a long battle to the nomination, and is beefing up staff and building plans to battle it out. "This is a race that we believe will come to us at some point and we'll be able to take advantage of it when it does," he told CNN in an interview to air Monday on "John King, USA."

But McCollum, whose 2010 gubernatorial primary bid against now-Governor Rick Scott was endorsed by Romney, said a vote for Santorum would be "wasted."

"I think that Rick is not the player at long haul at all, I don't know how long he stays in it," he said. "He's a friend, I know him well, but I think a vote for Rick is simply not a vote - I think it's a vote that's wasted at this point."

Santorum pointed on Monday to an even score between the top three candidates – he won Iowa, Romney took New Hampshire, and Gingrich was victorious in South Carolina.

"We've all won one primary, so let's see how it goes," he said. "I'm not going anywhere. You know I think one opponent calling for the other opponent to get out just shows the weakness that opponent feels – obviously feels in their own campaign.

"I'm not calling for anybody to get out," he continued. "We'll beat them straight up."

Also see:

Gingrich supporter trails Romney

Romney would consider pulling NBC ad

Romney holds 14-point lead over Gingrich in new Florida poll


Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich • Rick Santorum
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. gutsycall@yahoo.com

    If this contest says anything, it's a story of the hares and one tortoise. Each hare, confident of shooing the other hares from the race predicted victory focusing none at all on the tortoise. Worn out, the hares lost, the tortoise won.

    January 30, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  2. gt

    bill you got your butt beat the last few times you ran and now your buddy newt will get his head hand to him

    January 30, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  3. rhumba

    Does anyone else see the irony here?

    January 30, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  4. Sage Sophos

    Let Rick campaign wither naturally! what is the difference between you and the Republican establishment which also doesn't want to see your candidate succeed?

    January 30, 2012 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  5. Jim

    Their supporters scare me as much as the candidates.

    January 30, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  6. truindep

    CHICAGO (WLS) – Over the course of his presidency, Barack Obama has become one of the most polarizing presidents in U.S. history.

    In a 2011 Gallup poll, Obama’s approval rating among Democrats was 80 percent, while among Republicans was 12 percent, according to a report by The Washington Post. The 68-point gap between political parties surpasses George W. Bush’s 59-point difference in 2007.

    This information suggests a widening rift between Democrats and Republicans that could make the country more difficult to govern in future years.

    January 30, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  7. donna

    Santorum already endorsed Romney. He's there precisely to TAKE AWAY votes from Gingrich.

    January 30, 2012 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  8. American Voter Party

    Time for a change in the way party politics works. Check out AmericanVoterParty.com

    January 30, 2012 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  9. Pam in OH

    1) Since when is ANY vote a "wasted" vote? As long as we are participating in the process, it's not wasted. Isn't that what our republic is all about? 2) Rick Santorum is by far the more consistent conservative in this race. Newt Gingrich hasn't been a "conservative" since he left Congress. Maybe THAT'S why Newt is losing steam – people are learning more about the "real" Newt. Maybe Newt Gingrich should drop out and endorse Rick Santorum!

    January 31, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  10. annee od

    One has to wonder if Mr. Santorum has made some sort of deal with Romney by stayng in the race in spite. of his 1950 s beliefs. I cannot believe that americans will continue to split the conservative vote by wasting votes on Mr. Santorum.Could CNN delve "a little deeper " ?

    January 31, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  11. DoNotWorry

    Support for Gingrich is certainly wasted. He is just too unethical for anyone but a Republican to countenance.

    January 31, 2012 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  12. marlene

    Now that's going to really endear Santorum to Gingrich. Maybe Gingrich already offered Cain the VP spot, so he can't offer it to Santorum, so I guess trying to reduce him to zero value is the alternative. I do believe Santorum doesn't have a chance at getting the nomination, but for Gingrich's supporter to assume that Gingrich is losing to Romney because Santorum is a spoiler is really indicative of Gingrich's delusion.

    January 31, 2012 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  13. RealPolitics

    Romeny has nothing but lies to cover up his lack of honesty and conservatism, Newt has the knowledge but no conservatism, Honesty+Conservatism=Santorum. Vote for Rick Santorum.

    January 31, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  14. StuckInTX

    A vote for any of these clowns is wasted....

    January 31, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  15. dannyter

    As far as I'm concerned, I'd like to see Santorum win. Gingrich is very knowledgeable but undoubtedly too wishy washy. Romney is a great speaker, but am not exactly sure what is just talk with him. Santorum is more with values and seems much more trustworthy. They commented on Newmax that Romney said he didn't think he could beat Obama – why? From what I keep hearing, everyone wants him out of the White House, so...

    January 31, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
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