February 8th, 2012
10:16 AM ET
2 years ago

Kingston: Santorum no longer a third wheel

(CNN) - Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston, a strong Newt Gingrich backer, said Wednesday Rick Santorum made big gains the previous night as a result of the ongoing battle between Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

"Santorum has benefited from the fact that it has been perceived as a two-man race. All the attacks have been on Newt. Now if Rick is going to be rising in the polls, I think he's going to start getting negative ads too," Kingston said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien."

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The former Pennsylvania senator pulled a surprising three-state victory in Tuesday's nominating contests, winning Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado. Santorum had been aggressively focusing on the states since Florida's primary on Jan. 31.

While Romney's team signaled it would begin training its fire on Santorum, the frontrunner's first big email Wednesday morning focused on attacking Gingrich, instead, perhaps signaling the campaign sees the former House speaker as a more likely competitor for upcoming races in the South.

And Kingston said that's exactly where Gingrich plans to invest his resources in the coming weeks, especially in the candidate's home state of Georgia, which has a whopping 76 delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday, March 6.

"We're going back into debate season. We have four debates between now and Super Tuesday, which is Newt's home court advantage," Kingston said. "We're feeling good about things."

The Georgia congressman, however, predicted Santorum would get the bulk of negative ads from both the Gingrich and Romney campaigns as the race moves forward.

"Mostly from the Romney folks," he added. "I think the super PACs will come in there as well."

Also see:

Romney will take tougher approach to Santorum, adviser says

Gingrich touts nationwide campaign

Paul, on quests for delegates, looks past Tuesday contests

Obama's fashion fundraiser


Filed under: 2012 • Georgia • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Rick Santorum
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    Maybe I'm wrong, but I think people are over Gingrich. Even down South. I also think that Santorum's views are so far out of the mainstream - no contraception for rape victims, for example - that it will be hard to label him as a Washington insider.

    The Republican primary contest is a hot mess right now, and we liberals are rejoicing.

    February 8, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  2. CoJo

    I gather all republicans think they will get the same level of health care and health insurance as Santorum gets from being a senator. Want to bet?!?!?!

    February 8, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens has spent over $40 million to destroy his fellow republicans, and he lost 5 of the first seven states. It seems that money talks, but it can't sing or dance and it can't walk.

    February 8, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  4. ThinkAgain

    between 1% – 6% of registered Republicans participated in these caucuses; "winning" these is hardly worth crowing about.

    February 8, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. diridi

    This I wrote long time ago, GOP is nothing but nonsense in USA. o.k, True, true, true, true. Obama2012.

    February 8, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. carrie

    I have heard many say he is the only one that seems sane and/or "reaL" so yeah think he could have staying power. Now I do not agree with his politics, he is way too far right for me , but he is a nice guy , fresh and no baggage. He could be a keeper, kinda like Obama was in 08. But I think he could get the GOP behind him. Now can he win , depends on the economy!

    February 8, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  7. Bob

    The Klown Show goes on!!!!

    February 8, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  8. ThinkAgain

    So it's Santorum's turn to be the GOP front-runner; big deal. Equally laughable is the GOP leadership's belief that Romney could ever win the general election when he's never polled above about 27%.

    February 8, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  9. johnmenacherjr

    This guy is way to out there! Good for the GOP another screwed up venture but hey business and the chamber of Commerce knows it all – Teah Right!

    February 8, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    Santorum basically has benefited from the fact that the party really does NOT care for Romney nor Gingrich and Ron Paul is just a joke that never goes away. Heck Bachmann probably would have won this had she been able to stay in. This is another anybody but Romney vote and if you think come August all these guys are going to join hands in Tampa and sing "We are the World" I think it won't happen.

    February 8, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  11. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Ehen Mittens tried to campaign as being more conservative than Santorum, I think some republicans realized he was a flip flopping panderer, who lacked a backbone and values.

    February 8, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  12. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    No doubt Obama's attack on religious freedoms got the evangelicals all fired up and out to vote for Santorum. It played right up his alley. Obama has really messed up and ticked off a LOT of people and reminded them why they hated Obamacare.

    February 8, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    Rep. Kingston, please explain to me that 6.8 million earmark you got for that beach that your house happens to be on.

    February 8, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    What miserable cluelessness these four republican candidates represent. No wonder the Grand Old Party is in such disarray. Looks as if GW destroyed more than just our economy...

    February 8, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. george of the jungle

    The repos don't want mitt. Even with all his money. Ol rick is so far right ,he is off the page. The party of No is in disaray. Obama/Biden 2012

    February 8, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. Patriot Awesome

    I'm seriously beginning to think that (with the possible exception of Ron Paul) these candidates are all actually Democrat operatives out to take down the Republican party from the inside, by making them sound crazy and out of touch. It's the only possible explanation I can think of.

    February 8, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. Anonymous

    What a sorry spectacle this flaccid field of clown car candidates has made of the GOBP deathcult.

    February 8, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. Rudy NYC

    I guess more people noticed that Santorum totally cleaned Romney's clock on health care during the Florida debate than the press realized. Now he's clearing Romney out at the polls. I would have to say that the baby faced guy has picked up some momentum with apparent staying power.

    February 8, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  19. Anonymous

    "No doubt Obama's attack on religious freedoms got the evangelicals all fired up and out to vote for Santorum"
    =============================================

    Truth, you don't strike me as a faith based individual. Neither do you strike me as a individual who allows personal faith to dictate your own path in life. Why such concern over that which you know so little of?

    February 8, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth assumed:

    No doubt Obama's attack on religious freedoms got the evangelicals all fired up and out to vote for Santorum.
    -------------
    Not for the reasons that you assume. Most folks want access to birth control and contraceptive prescriptions, including the majority of Catholics. This is a delicate issue that the Obama administration is allowing the right wing to totally mischaracterize, which is nothing new for either side. The right wing conveniently ignores the fact that not everyone who works at the institutions is Catholic or even wants to be.

    There are those on the right who say if you do not like the health care, go find a new job. There are those on the left who say that it is wrong for private groups to forcibly indoctrinate people by holding the threat of their livelihood and jobs over their heads.

    Where do you draw the line? The right wants to grant private groups the power to tell people how to live their lives. The left says granting that power is unconstitutional, which sets a dangerous precedent. The Obama administration is merely saying that private groups must offer people the choice, that they cannot capriciously and arbitrarily take that freedom of choice away from people.

    How do you decide which groups should have this compelling power of people who do not? Now you have government favoring one religion over another, which in itself is unconstitutional.

    February 8, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. GI Joe.

    I don't want the POPE/Catholic church determining my healthcare and I certainly don't want any OTHER religious zealot telling women they have no rights.

    Once they take away women's rights, they'll go after someone else (maybe men?).

    February 8, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. GI Joe.

    If you vote for any of these religious nuts and your healthcare continues to go up (and you get rejected/kicked off their roles) IT'S YOUR FAULT.

    February 8, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. GI Joe.

    If you don't want birth control - don't take it. PERIOD.

    February 8, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  24. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    This is what happens when the government starts taking over healthcare and dictating what is required. Clueless leftists, that hate religion, completely disregard the fact that they are a very small minority compared the the vast majority of religious people in this country. It has now become the tyranny of the minority in the name of "access" and "fairness".

    The REAL ISSUE is can the government FORCE a religious organization to pay for medical care that violates their religious beliefs? The Catholic church was conned by the Obama administration into supporting Obamacare with assurances they would be granted religious exemptions from this fiasco. Now they are finding out, like the rest of us, Obamacare is nothing but a pack of lies, fraud and unconstitutional mandates. The Catholic church got conned by leftists and will see just how powerful relgion is in the USA. Obamacare WILL be the downfall of Obama and the Democrats in 2012.

    February 8, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  25. McShannon

    The participation of voting Americans with all the primaries combined barely equals the population of one large American city. That the uncertainty of voting Republicans as to who they want for a candidate is unprecedented is not unlike a ship sailing too close to the rocks.

    February 8, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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