Gingrich taps Rubio aide in Florida
December 11th, 2011
10:18 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich taps Rubio aide in Florida

Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is ramping up operations in Florida with the man behind Marco Rubio’s Senate campaign that rocked Sunshine State politics and challenged the national Republican Party establishment.

The former House speaker hired Rubio’s Senate campaign manager, Jose Mallea, to be his Florida state director. With less than two months to go before the Jan. 31 primary, Gingrich is significantly behind well-financed Mitt Romney when it comes to a campaign presence beyond the first three game-changing states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Although Mallea could be a sign Gingrich is hoping to capture the come-from-behind magic that propelled Rubio to an unlikely Senate win, the Miami-based political strategist is walking into a bare-bones operation. Until recently, Gingrich’s Florida operation consisted of two staffers based in Miami, who originally worked for Gingrich Productions - a multimedia production company based in Washington - and are coordinating the candidate’s national Hispanic outreach.

On the other hand, Romney’s campaign has had five staffers on the ground, including a consultant and field staffers dispatched throughout the state, since early September.

Gingrich is surging in early primary state polling, including the latest NBC News/Marist poll, released Sunday, which shows the nascent frontrunner leading top-tier candidate Romney among likely Republican primary voters in Florida, 44% to 29%.

While Mallea’s former boss is considered a serious vice presidential contender for Gingrich and other White House hopefuls, Rubio has said he will not endorse a presidential candidate before the Florida primary. Romney endorsed conservative Rubio's Senate bid in the Republican primary against Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, who switched parties to run against Rubio as an independent but lost to the tea party favorite.

- Follow Shawna Shepherd on Twitter: @ShepherdCNN

Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Marco Rubio • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Namejkane

    Ya, vote for the party that's going to deport you any your family's. Of course you don't no any better, but rubeio does , ask him!!!!

    December 11, 2011 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  2. Marcel

    Poor 'flavor' for Christmas

    Gingrich is just a poor-tasting Christmas flavor. He doesn't have far left to he better enjoy his 15 minutes of fame.

    December 11, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  3. Namejkane

    You clowns have no chance of ever taking power again in the next election or 100 years after that. You lie, and lie ,and lie again. You get no respect and deserve none !!!!! Teapublican clowns!!!!

    December 11, 2011 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  4. T'sah from Virginia

    I hope they chose in the General – A "ginGRINCH-Romney" ticket
    That would surely make us happy – As the political plot thicken
    A flip-flop – flop-flipping Sorry – Arrogant Pitbull-MITTen
    Teaming up to flop even more – when BOTH of them should be quittin'!!!

    So continue to pick the LOSERS – And watch how they die in the General Election
    President Obama will continue to carry the torch – And keep us moving in the right direction!!!

    Obama 2012

    December 11, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  5. m

    The GOP = GREEDY OPPOSITION PARTY is willing to hold its noise and support this fat gas bag. gingRICH is credited with being a big thinker with brilliant ideas most of which have ended up in the local landfill. He is too crazy to be trusted with the keys to the White House.

    December 12, 2011 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  6. Larry L

    Didn't Gingrich get in trouble for "taping" one of the staffers a while back?

    It should be fairly easy to get Floridians to sell their souls and ignore the imorality of Gingrich's life and unethical practices he's shown as a discrased Speaker of the House and a low-life lobbyist. Folks down there are Christians by convienence... racists by birth.

    December 12, 2011 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  7. Marie MD

    Oh googied, now he can reinvent himself and his family history to make himself look better. Oh no wait, he has repented to his new found god.

    December 12, 2011 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Is this a subtle hint that Rubio has endorsed Gingrich? Either that or Rubio can't hold onto his people. It is beginning to seem as if Gingrich has a good chance at getting the nomination. I wonder if Obama with win it by a slim or large margin.

    December 12, 2011 07:24 am at 7:24 am |