Signs are emerging that the campaign of GOP frontrunner and disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is in disarray. Gingrich, who has a reputation in Washington for being undisciplined, nearly missed the filing deadline to be on the New Hampshire primary ballot and then missed the deadline for Missouri’s primary altogether.
Even the Washington Times, a GOP propaganda sheet owned by the right-wing South Korean cult leader Sun Myung Moon, has taken notice:
“We are going to give it our damnedest. We are going to do everything in our capacity to meet this deadline,” Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammand said of the Ohio deadline. “As far as the next deadline, we’re on pace for everything else.”
Gingrich backers said the campaign could mount a write-in effort in Ohio if need be. But missing that state’s 4 p.m. Wednesday deadline would be the latest embarrassment for Mr. Gingrich’s organization.
Mr. Hammand said this week that he intentionally missed the Missouri deadline for getting Mr. Gingrich’s name on the state primary ballot. He said the Feb. 7 primary is nonbinding, but promised to participate in caucuses there a month later, where the state’s delegates to the nominating convention will be picked.
Mr. Gingrich also turned in a messy, handwritten form for New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary and filled in only seven of the alternate-delegate slots – a distinction that is unlikely to have much impact because candidates rarely have to rely on alternates.
The stretched Gingrich team has notched some successes, though, meeting Tuesday’s deadline in Tennessee, and filing in Oklahoma ahead of that state’s Wednesday deadline, according to local news reports.
Prominent Gingrich supporters groused about the process – the layers of ballot-access hurdles that presidential candidates must overcome.
“We’ve made it far too complicated for any human being to run for office,” said former Rep. Bob Livingston of Louisiana, who served in Congress under Mr. Gingrich and supports the former House speaker.
“I don’t like those restriction and regulations,” Mr. Livingston added. “You shouldn’t have to have a battery of accountants and lawyers in every single state to run for president.”
If Bob Livingston’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he was set to become House speaker after Gingrich was driven out of office late in 1998 by a sex scandal. Before Rep. Livingston could take office, however, he was exposed as an alleged sexual philanderer, when someone provided Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt with documentary evidence that allegedly showed that Livingston was into kinky sex orgies.
Gingrich was ousted by his own party during the Clinton impeachment when Gingrich’s affair with a staffer, his current wife Callista, threatened to undermine the GOP’s political gambit of impeaching Pres. Clinton because he lied about an affair during a deposition in a civil trial.