Has Newt Gingrich run his final race for elective office?Newt Gingrich once represented Coweta County in the U.S. Congress. The darling of the Republican Party in the early 1990s, Gingrich orchestrated the takeover of the U.S. House in 1994, leading the Republicans to its first House majority in 40 years. He became Speaker of the House and arguably the most powerful Republican in Washington.
Today, as Gingrich prepares to exit the 2012 race for the Republican Party presidential nomination, many people are speculating on what’s ahead in Gingrich’s future. Gingrich has reinvented himself before, particularly after he lost his House leadership role in the late 1990s. He became a Republican elder who focused on big issues and was a fundraiser for his political advocacy group.
This time, much of the speculation is whether this ill-fated 2012 bid for the GOP presidential nomination will be Gingrich’s last bid for elective office. Most political pundits seem to think this is indeed his last race, however some point out that political big-wigs have made dramatic comebacks before.
Richard Nixon is the most famous. After losing a presidential race to John F. Kennedy in 1960, Nixon couldn’t even win the race for governor of California two years later. After that loss Nixon told the media, “You don’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.”
Don’t expect such a turnaround for Gingrich. He’s getting old. Nixon was 55 when he won the White House. In 2016 Gingrich will be 73.
Tom Perdue, a longtime Republican strategist in Georgia, said, “I sure don’t see how he could be a contender for anything in the future.”
Gingrich is not likely finished as a political operative, but we don’t see him running again for political office. It’s unlikely he could be elected. Gingrich still is one of the brightest political minds, but he has far too much personal and political baggage for voters.
That said, a Gingrich spokesman said this week, “New Gingrich has spent his entire career proving pundits wrong. I’m sure he’ll be happy to do so again.”
Gingrich is expected to announce his exit from the GOP presidential primary race on Tuesday. Maybe he will give us some insight into his future.