Gingrich hopeful for Delaware primary upset

Delaware Republicans began voting Tuesday in the GOP primary, with 17 winner-take-all delegates at stake.

David Duprey/AP
Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich arrives at a campaign stop in Buffalo, N.Y., on April 20.

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is about to learn whether the time and attention he has devoted will resonate with the state's presidential primary voters.

Delaware Republicans began voting Tuesday in the GOP primary, with 17 winner-take-all delegates at stake.

Gingrich, the former House speaker, has been crisscrossing the state in recent weeks, hoping a victory inDelaware will provide momentum for him to continue campaigning in other states after Tuesday.

The only other visit to Delaware by a GOP presidential candidate was a brief stop by GOP front-runner Mitt Romney earlier this month in Wilmington, just hours after his closest rival, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, abandoned the race.

In the days leading up to Tuesday's primary, Gingrich's focus on Delaware paid off with endorsements from two GOP officials who previously had endorsed Romney, including Republican National Committeewoman Priscilla Rakestraw, a longtime leader in the state Republican Party.

"Just the fact that he's been so committed to Delaware has been really great," said Sen. Colin Bonini, R-Dover, a longtime Gingrich supporter who introduced Gingrich at his first campaign appearance and was the first elected official in Delaware to endorse him.

"We're going to try to deliver this for you, Mr. Speaker," Bonini told Gingrich on Monday night during his finalDelaware campaign appearance.

Gingrich has visited Delaware at least eight times in the past month, spreading his message about the need for limited government, balanced budgets and American energy independence.

"It's the kind of state where people actually know each other," he said Monday, extolling the virtues of the Brandywine Zoo and the museum at Dover Air Force Base.

Delaware is holding its Republican presidential primary Tuesday along with Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Delaware's polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday in all three counties. Only Republicans, who account for about 178,000 of the state's 613,000 registered voters, are allowed to vote in the GOP primary.

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