By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Newt Gingrich will bring his Republican presidential campaign to Tupelo on March 8.
The former U.S. speaker of the House will host a 10 a.m. event in downtown’s Fairpark District, local Republicans report.
Details are being worked out for the public rally.
Over the weekend, GOP operatives reported other Mississippi stops by Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in advance of the state’s March 13 primary. Alabama’s GOP primary is the same day.
The Restore Our Future super PAC supporting Romney mailed out thousands of fliers in Mississippi recently to boost his candidacy over former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who’s gone from way behind to nipping at Romney’s heels.
Romney representatives say he plans to visit the state, but whether that trip includes Northeast Mississippi wasn’t clear Monday.
Rep. Ron Paul of Texas rounds out the GOP field.
Gingrich will return to the state March 12 with events announced for the Gulf Coast.
While there’s no news about a Paul stop in the Magnolia State, Santorum’s state director Chris Godbey told The Sun Herald he expects a Mississippi visit by his candidate to be “most definitely” forthcoming.
Romney, Santorum, Paul and Gingrich also are pressing for votes in advance of Super Tuesday on March 6, which includes only 10 Republican caucuses or primaries compared with 24 in 2008.
A GOP candidate must capture 1,144 of the 2,286 delegates to become the nominee.
Many observers say no candidate is likely to approach that goal after Super Tuesday.
Monday in a CBS “This Morning” interview, former Gov. Haley Barbour, now a national Republican strategist, said the fight for the GOP presidential nomination could go all the way to the August convention. He said he doesn’t think that’s likely, but that none of the candidates has taken control of the race.
On the way to the Tampa, Fla. convention ballot, small Southern states’ delegate counts – like Mississippi’s 40 delegates and Alabama’s 60 – could start looking pretty important, he said.