Newt gets his own SuperPAC

November 10, 2011

Here’s a sign that Newt Gingrich is poised to make a run in the Republican presidential race — the former Speaker of the House finally has his own SuperPAC.

SuperPACs, “outside” funding groups supporting candidates but not officially tied to campaigns, can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money. They are the hottest trend in U.S. politics, after court decisions last year lifted most restrictions on political fundraising.  Texas Governor Rick Perry may be lagging in the polls, but he has at least seven.  “Restore Our Future,” favoring Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney, raised $12.3 million in the first half of 2011 alone.

Newt’s SuperPAC, “Solutions 2012,” launched on Wednesday night, coinciding with a debate between the candidates vying for the Republican nomination to oppose Democratic President Barack Obama’s re-election.

Backers look to the 68-year-old Gingrich as a viable competitor for Romney, whom some Republicans see as too moderate to be the party’s candidate for the White House. Interest in Gingrich has intensified as Perry’s poll numbers have slipped after poor debate performances, and businessman Herman Cain, another conservative favorite, has grappled with a sexual harassment scandal.

Newt’s SuperPAC touts the candidate as an expert on policy who does not attack other Republicans, in a video that says “Help us show America that substance still matters.

Gingrich faces big obstacles in his quest for the nomination, including a complicated personal life — he is married to his third wife — and he was last a dominant figure on the U.S. political scene in the mid-1990s. Gingrich is in third place in the nomination race, with 12.2 percent support, behind Cain and Romney, according to polls compiled by RealClearPolitics.com

If successful, a SuperPAC could help with one big Gingrich campaign problem — his fundraising. Gingrich’s campaign reported raising just $2.8 million in the first three quarters of the year, a small fraction of what his top rivals have raised for their White House bids.

Picture credit: Reuters/Brian Frank

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