Republican Presidential hopeful and former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich… (Alex Wong/Getty Images )
Newt Gingrich’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, which has struggled financially for most of the year, says the former House speaker raised $4 million in the first half of the fourth quarter, when he began climbing in the polls.
That’s about $1 million more than Gingrich raised in the first five months of the campaign, when he fell nearly $1.2 million in debt, including $450,000 owed to a private jet company.
The third quarter was by far Gingrich’s worst: He raised just $800,000 and lost more than a dozen staffers who quit en masse in June.
But Herman Cain’s demise has been Gingrich’s gain – and with many Republican voters still unwilling to jump behind Mitt Romney, Gingrich has managed a comeback that is evident not just in poll numbers, but in dollars to his campaign.
“There were days in August when we raised $10,000 overnight and we’d be very excited about it,” Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond said in an interview Wednesday. “Now we see $10,000 an hour.”
Still, the campaign will carry some debt into the new year, Hammond said.
Seeking to capitalize on his newfound lead, Gingrich will attend a fundraiser tonight at Occidental Grill & Seafood restaurant in Washington, D.C. Lawmakers-turned-lobbyists Bob Livingston and Robert Walker will co-host the event, along with five current members who have endorsed Gingrich, and some former aides.
The $1,000-a-plate dinner is aimed at helping the Gingrich campaign handle its rush of success. It comes as another poll – this one conducted by Time and CNN – showed Gingrich surging. Livingston is no small figure in the Gingrich story.
The former Louisiana congressman essentially pushed Gingrich out of power in 1998, after Republicans lost seats in the midterm. Livingston launched his own bid for speaker, which was derailed by his admission of infidelity.
Livingston said those events were water under the bridge. He praised Gingrich for leading the 1994 "Republican revolution" and making gains for conservative causes while in office.
“Frankly his leadership has been missed,” Livingston said. “And we have enormous problems today. We need somebody who knows how to solve these problems, not just talk about them. … I want what Newt Gingrich offered us in the late ’90s. I think we can get back there.”
Livingston acknowledged that Gingrich’s campaign had much to overcome – including “the worst start in American history.” But he said he believed that campaign would continue to pick up steam, build organization and make key deadlines for getting on the ballot.
“We’ll get there,” he said.