January 30th, 2012
05:39 PM ET
10 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. JaneMiami (twitter)

    Conservative Spring? #conservativespring

    January 30, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  2. shoegazer

    Santorum? Get serious.

    January 30, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  3. realitybites

    I wondered who Alfred E Newman was working for these days. Just as funny as ever.

    January 30, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. politics as usual

    The arrogance of Newt and his staff is just mind-boggling!

    January 30, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    That man reminds me of my ex son-in-law that "borrowed" $32,000 and never repaid it. He still tithes at church, tho.

    January 30, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Who does this guy remind me of? Howdy Doody? No...maybe...who?!
    Aaargh! This is going to "haunt" me all night!

    January 30, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  7. Hair bear

    He's right! Santorum needs to drop out! Everyone is not in love with Romney! If this guy drops out! It's a game changer!

    January 30, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  8. concerned citizen

    Sen. Santorum is not my candidate (Pres. Obama last time, but I will vote for Romney this time) and don't agree to many of his policies. However, I found this comment outrageous and extremely disrespectful in many regards. What does he mean by the term "wasted"? Each individual decided to vote for Sen. Santorum and his/her decision should never be called "wasted." Also, it is Sen. Santorum who decides to stay in the race or not. He is a much more principled conservative candidate in my opinion, compared to the former speaker, whose comments on "new, exciting projects" etc. often confuse me if he really believes in small government. In any case, I think this individual should apologize for Sen. Santorum and those who casted their votes for him.

    January 30, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  9. kathym

    Santorum is a breath of fresh air. Romney and Gingrich have so much baggage it's a joke. Thank the media and all the money being spend by those two on why Santorum isn't doing well.

    January 30, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Karl Rove is probably making deals with Mr. Frothy just to keep him in the race and keep Newt from winning.

    January 30, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  11. Josaphat Daniels

    Yes, he's right iowa is as far as santorum goes.

    January 30, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  12. Brad

    In fact Santorum by staying in is doing Newt a big favor. The longer he and Paul stay in, the less likely that Romney can garner a majority of the delegates. That way Newt can at least get to the convention with Mitt not having sewed up the nomination and hope for a miracle. Newt cannot beat Mitt head to head, doesn't have the money, etc. Further, polling shows that the Santorum and Paul votes would be about equally split between Mitt and Newt, thereby helping Mitt get the majority he would need before the convention. Newt would rather wreck the convention and make the GOP look worse than it does now. His ego knows no bounds.

    January 30, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  13. Flavoter

    How about if Gingrinch wasn't in it Santorum would be winning right now?

    January 30, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  14. John Bloom

    He is saying it wrong, a vote for Santorum is not a "wasted" it is vote for Romney. As Florida is a Winner take all state, voting for Santorum gains him nothing. If they are OK with Romney, then by all means vote for Santorum. If however they want to stop Romney, they have to vote for Newt. If Romney loses a few states in a row, he may consider giving up. ROMNEY can not beat Obama, but even if we did very little would. change. If you really want to frighten the Establishment vote for Dr. Ron Paul. If he would get 25% of the vote without spending any money and little time in the state. The REAL Establishment is the BIG GOVERNMENT Republicans, both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich fit that description.

    January 30, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  15. Renee

    I think Florida is turning into Latter Day Saint movement. Help us God.

    January 30, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  16. Slightly Left of Center

    "He's a factor in this race, if he weren't in it, we'd clearly be beating Romney right now,"...
    Wow. So now it's Santorum's fault that Noooot isn't 'winning'?

    January 30, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  17. Slightly Left of Center

    Santorum...wasted. Newt...waisted.

    January 30, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  18. John

    If anybody should drop out It should be Newt Gingrich. This man got so much bad baggage there Is no way he could win It all. Most American People like to vote for someone you think you can trust. There Is NO WAY ANYBODY CAN TRUST Newt Gingrich.

    January 30, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  19. PTBarnumboy

    Mr. McCollum was a two faced weasel when he was in the congress and hasn't changed a bit.

    January 30, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  20. once upon a horse

    well so much for a Gingrich/Santorum ticket I guess

    January 30, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  21. jacques Tootite

    It is truly depressing to see the slate of candidates the Republicans have fielded this time. Romney is a wealthy fool out of touch with 99% of the country. Santorum is a screwy religious obsessed with the private lives of others. And Gingrich is a hypocrite who tormented Clinton for his sexual indiscretions while cheating on his second wife. As my late grandfather used to say "I wouldn't vote for any of these guys if they were running for dog catcher!"

    January 30, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  22. Randy, San Francisco

    Gingrich needs Santorum to stay in the race to drag out the nomination process to the GOP/Tea Party Convention.

    January 30, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  23. Thomas

    Bill McCollum is right , Rick Santorum cant go all the way .

    RICK GIVE IT UP , SUPPORT NEWT AND THE MOON COLONY .

    January 30, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  24. The Middle

    Some friend. Why doesn't he consider a vote for Newt as wasted? Newt has been proved to lie, cheat and all that's wrong with politicians. And Newt thinks he's getting the helm to the ship? I think Paul Allen should pay Newt's ticket to space- one way only.

    January 30, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  25. Wylie-Mike

    If it were just Santorum and Gingrich, I'd vote for Santorum.
    The vitriol and arrogance of the the Gingrich campaign is why I don't believe he can hold a coalition together to get the job done to restore our Republic and Serve the will of the people. He sowed discord when he was in Congress. We already have a divisive President.

    January 30, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
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