(WASHINGTON) — Newt Gingrich has won only two of the 25 states to vote so far, but he’s not getting out of the race any time soon.
Gingrich firmly believes that staying in the race is the best way to prevent Mitt Romney from clinching the nomination before the convention in August. The former House speaker explained his rationale to ABC’s Jonathan Karl late Tuesday as the latest primary results were coming in.
“We’re actually helping because between us – Santorum and I – are stopping Romney,” Gingrich said.
Gingrich made the case that unless Romney starts winning delegates at a faster pace, he won’t clinch the nomination by the end of the primaries.
“My expectation is it is going to be an open convention,” Gingrich said. “I understand it. Everyone in the Republican establishment wants Romney and they’d like everyone else to go home. They’d like to have a coronation, but that’s not how this is done.”
An open convention would occur if no candidate has a majority 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination by the time the last primary rolls around in June. Delegates and party elders would then settle on a nominee in August at the Republican convention in Tampa.
If Gingrich drops out, he argues, two things will happen:
1) His vote gets divided between Santorum and Romney. A larger percentage would go to Santorum, but at least some goes to Romney, allowing him to accumulate more delegates; and,
2) Romney is then able to aim all of his considerable firepower at Santorum, destroying him with negative ads the way he twice destroyed Gingrich (in Iowa and Florida).
“This thing is going to go on. You guys need to relax and cover the most interesting nominating process in your lifetime,” Gingrich said. “Be not anxiety-ridden, this is going to be good for America. This is a good conversation to have.”
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