Gingrich shoots down U.S. Senate bid
September 24th, 2013
04:10 PM ET
9 years ago

Gingrich shoots down U.S. Senate bid

Updated 5:30 p.m. ET 9/24/2013

Washington (CNN) - Sorry, Newt Gingrich fans in Virginia. It looks like the former House speaker won't be running for the U.S. Senate in 2014.

His attorney issued a cease and desist letter, demanding a group of Gingrich supporters to stop using his likeness as they try to draft the former presidential candidate to run against Democratic Sen. Mark Warner in Virginia.

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"I personally was very concerned about the potential for confusion," Stefan Passantino, who wrote the letter, told CNN. "People could have thought that either the speaker or his campaign was in any way behind it."

The newly formed political action committee, "Draft Newt PAC," kicked off last week, led by Andrew Hemingway, the New Hampshire state director and national digital fundraising director for Gingrich's 2012 presidential campaign.

Passantino, however, pointed to Gingrich's new job as co-host of CNN's "Crossfire." He also tweeted that if anyone is interested in the former speaker's ideas, they can "help with his own campaign debt and watch Crossfire on CNN at 6:30 every day."

Gingrich's media company, Gingrich Productions, also responded to the draft efforts with a statement, saying Gingrich is not running and urging supporters to "ignore solicitations from this new group."

While Gingrich himself hasn't commented on the draft effort, he re-tweeted the statement by Gingrich Productions last week, as well as the statement by Passantino on Tuesday.

The group's website,, displays a giant photo of Gingrich and encourages Virginians to sign up for more information about the effort.

Responding to the cease and desist letter, the PAC's treasurer and legal counsel Dan Backer said in an email the group has "made clear all along Newt is in no way part of our effort to draft him." He pointed to Federal Election Commission restrictions that prohibit political action committees from organizing with the candidates they support.

And while Backer said it's understandable that Gingrich's organizations would want to "directly manage all use of Newt's image and likeness," he argued the former speaker is a public figure and there are "millions" of conservatives who want to see him back in office.

The group has already collected 10,000 signatures, he said.

"We believe Newt Gingrich should run for Senate in Virginia in 2014, and that he would win, and we hope he will ultimately heed that call," Backer said. “If a million Americans signed our petition to draft Newt, would he say no? If 100,000 Virginians called on him to represent us, would he say no? Or, would he at least think about it?”

Gingrich also turned down a potential chance to run for the Senate in Georgia earlier this year. His name was among those mentioned as possible contenders for the open Senate race in 2014 to replace retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Gingrich represented the Peach State when he served in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Filed under: Newt Gingrich • Virginia
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Aww Newt... It would have been fun listening to your crazy non sense and seeing you lose again!

    September 24, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    I can only say LOL and is he crazy????? Never mind.

    September 24, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    As a resident Virginian, I wouldn't vote for Newt. After his government shutdown, and his racist rants of "food stamp President," he can kick rocks. Besides, he's another Washington insider, and that's not what Washington needs. We need some ADULTS!

    September 24, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. Wake up People!

    Just goes to show how stupid republicans really are. They will accept a lying cheater as long as he has an R after his name.

    September 24, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. Data Driven

    Hey Tickerites, let's help pay off Newt's campaign debt!

    "You know you want it" - Robin Thicke

    September 24, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. just asking

    newt doesn't want this to interfere with his new gig at cnn crossfire. why do these groups do this. if and when newt is ready to run again, he'll make that decision.

    September 24, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. Pander Bear

    Too bad. Would have been hilarious watching him get crushed.

    September 24, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. Tom

    Translation: Newt realizes he would get trounced. BTW, with all the mass shootings lately, I'm not sure "shoots down" are appropriate words to use in a headline.

    September 24, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  9. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    I guess the grinch knows he can't get elected. The grinch is being used by the teaparty dolt and dufus Cruz as a blueprint for the current GOP teaparty obstruction and incompetents to bring the government to a standstill , thanks grinch . We don't need it or want it , your blueprint will cost the GOP the house in 2014 , we dems thank you!!!!!

    September 24, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. Thomas

    "Moon Colony Newt "

    September 24, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "I'm not sure "shoots down" are appropriate words to use in a headline."

    They must've hit their quota for "slams" already today though.

    September 24, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  12. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Cruz has poisoned any chance that the GOP will keep the house or gain any seats in the senate. His GOP teaparty incompetents will lead to a GOP route in 2014 midterms, we don't need any of this GOP bafoonery!!!!

    September 24, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. Data Driven

    And don't forget "hammers". And "blasts" - they really love "blasts". I.e., "Christine O'Donnell blasts Obama for Mideast peace talks"

    September 24, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. 2012liberal

    He has already destroyed this country once and his party has done it again. He is the last thing this country needs again. I cant believe cnn thought he was worthy enough 2 b on crossfire. Along w s.e. Cupp. Really? Puck

    September 24, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |