Gingrich team rushing to build ground game in N.H.
December 2nd, 2011
11:52 AM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich team rushing to build ground game in N.H.

Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) - Newt Gingrich's New Hampshire staff strove to stem a rush of questions about the campaign's ground game in New Hampshire, a day after reports about a sloppy, incomplete official document prompted concerns about Gingrich's organization in the early voting state.

Just two weeks ago the former House speaker's campaign submitted to the secretary of state's office what looked like a scratch sheet of proposed New Hampshire delegates to the national convention, in contrast to the more complete and neatly organized lists submitted by other campaigns.

The campaign has eight paid staff members and is working to hire more, especially those whose jobs will be to help mobilize supporters.

But currently the team does not employ any field staffers, who are usually young activists who reach out to voters and help sign up supporters at campaign events.

On Friday, Gingrich's New Hampshire team seemed to address the issue, sending supporters a list with direct email addresses for staffers in New Hampshire, including personal email contact for some top advisers.

"We want to make sure you know how to reach us, anytime," the email said. "So go ahead, email us. We're probably up working anyway."

Gingrich began to surge in state polls in late October, and has continued to gain popularity in New Hampshire. By late November he had earned the support of the influential state-wide newspaper, the New Hampshire Union Leader.

But because his rise came so late in the race, Gingrich does not have the infrastructure in place that campaigns usually rely on to turn out voters in the early January contests.

Spokesman Mattheau LeDuc said the team is quickly getting up to speed and working to capitalize on Gingrich's momentum in the state. He pointed out the campaign's first paid staffer was hired Oct. 21.

"You've got to understand. We've been doing this for just four weeks here," LeDuc said. "We're so behind the eight ball on everything, so it's amazing what we've done."

Supporters can visit one of two campaign headquarters here, and Gingrich's team is signing leases on three additional offices in the state.

LeDuc said he was in the process of hiring a chief field staffer and would then recruit several more.

By comparison, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman's campaign - which has made New Hampshire its chief priority - employs seven field operatives in the state.

LeDuc said the current staff members have been utility players and pitched in to cover more responsibilities until more staffers can be hired.

He was confident the staff could move swiftly to marshal supporters in the coming weeks. LeDuc said 1,000 people had already signed up to volunteer through Gingrich's New Hampshire website,, in the two weeks since the site was launched.

"We had a great ground game," LeDuc said. "Support's just been amazing."

New Hampshire political strategist Rich Killion, who had supported Tim Pawlenty in the presidential race but is now unaffiliated, said the next few weeks were vitally important for Newt's staff.

"Momentum is a beautiful thing in politics but you've got to have the apparatus to take advantage of all that," he said.

A New Hampshire campaign is won by supportive activists who evangelize for a candidate, he said, but added campaign staffers need to harness that support and provide coordination and even campaign materials to those activists.

"You can look at it with a jaundiced eye and say, boy that's a big challenge to have the infrastructure where they can capture the moment," Killion said.

The campaign of long-time New Hampshire frontrunner Mitt Romney took the opportunity to ding Gingrich and promote their own painstaking campaign organization Wednesday.

"Our team has built a grass roots organization that is second to none and will help Gov. Romney build the support that is needed to win the primary," said spokesman Ryan Williams.

Gingrich last visited the state Nov. 21 and will campaign in New Hampshire again "very, very soon," LeDuc said.

Filed under: 2012 • New Hampshire • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Oh boy. Looks like we've got another one making it up as he goes along. Each successive candidate that has held the top spot on the ferris wheel has gone down in the polls in more memorable fashion than their predecessors. I cannot wait to see how big the Gingrich splash will be.

    Because you know he cannot stay on top without saying something controversial. He may have already begun his backslide with recent comments about child labor laws and children in low income families.

    December 2, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. grant

    The last thing we as Republicans should do is take this corrupt sociopath and make him president. It's a recepie for chaos.

    December 2, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. jim

    This dog won't hunt.

    December 2, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. Part of the 99%

    Sloppy and incomplete would be a good description of how a Gingrich presidency would be run too. Newt has a long history of being nothing more than a snake oil salesman. He's a very polished slime bucket.

    December 2, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. 4 more years of obama failure

    go get 'em Newt. save us from obama! we're holding on by our fingernails....

    December 2, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. ConservaFASCISTS/TEAhadists

    Too late Newt! Huntsman is gonna win N.H. Wait and see. Willard is going to be in for a rude awakening as well.

    December 2, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Newt Gingrich / Tom Delay 2012

    A court of men , not of law !

    December 2, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. SC

    Do we really want the equivalent of Monica Lewinsky as first lady? All the right wing religious people who supposedly want a more moral society are choosing an adulterer, ethics violator, arrogant, flip-flopping, fat old man who keeps his mistress happy with loads of jewelry over a mormon. Unbelievable!

    December 2, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. mesamick

    Hey Newt! You forgot to add child labor work houses to your list of things to help them "inner city" kids get "real work experience". And they would not cost tax payers a dime becasue you could pay them with food stamps instead of just giving them to their parents...

    December 2, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. Luke Brown

    It's a good thing for Gingrich that most Americans don't know who Guy Molinari is. He was a very good and decent member of the Republican Party who served in the House under Speaker Gingrich. If more Members - Dems and Reps - would use him as their role model, Congress would be a different place.

    Molinari describes Newt as "evil". That says everything.

    December 2, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  11. u2canbfmj

    Newt’s knee-jerk assault on Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) modest budget proposal, and the former Speaker’s lobbying ties to government mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae that perpetuated the financial crisis and recession. In addition, the spot showcases discussion of Newt’s lobbying ties to healthcare firms prior to his support of an Obama-Pelosi-Reid individual mandate as part of the recent wildly unpopular healthcare reform, to the absolute horror of nationally-syndicated conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

    December 2, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  12. GI Joe

    The same Hubris as Ahmejenidad (sp). Or is he more like that flamboyant crowing rooster that was just taken out by his own people?

    December 2, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. chilly g

    I hope newt beat mitt because all mitt has done is change position on all issued.also Im a black american
    and mitt think all black has been condem by god that what his mormon religious think.

    December 2, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  14. GI Joe

    Chilly G – Newt will put your kids to work cleaning toilets so maybe you can go back to school and educate yourself.

    December 2, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  15. diridi

    just another Idiot. that's all....

    December 2, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. Mike Dar

    By John E. Yang
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, January 22 1997; Page A01

    The House voted overwhelmingly yesterday to reprimand House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and order him to pay an unprecedented $300,000 penalty, the first time in the House's 208-year history it has disciplined a speaker for ethical wrongdoing.

    The ethics case and its resolution leave Gingrich with little leeway for future personal controversies, House Republicans said. Exactly one month before yesterday's vote, Gingrich admitted that he brought discredit to the House and broke its rules by failing to ensure that financing for two projects would not violate federal tax law and by giving the House ethics committee false information. Enough Said!!

    December 2, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. cquinn

    So, you liberals are scared of Newt? Every time one of our guys gains any ground you jump on him like a pack of wolves. Before you start criticizing our side, just look who we have in office now.

    December 2, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |