Newt Gingrich after an awkward quasi-kickoff in March where he announced he was officially launching a website where he would explore forming an exploratory committee, he is now officially in. What impact will this have on the Iowa Caucus? Uncertain as we’re still waiting for the field to shape up as his scenario looks completely different with Huckabee and/or Palin in the race than it does without. He has certainly polled better than most in the field with exploratory committees. He also has the support of the Iowa House Majority Leader, Linda Upmeyer, and has laid some groundwork in Iowa.
I believe he’s still off to a rocky start with the March mishap, being disinvited by a local Catholic church in Des Moines, and getting in just three days after the first debate.
All of that pales in comparison to his personal history and the baggage that carries. I just don’t see him overcoming it. I know he’s not afraid to address the topic, and I’m sure he’s changed. It will still be a major stumbling block (rightfully so).
I don’t say that in order to diminish his ideas and a lot of the work he has done. I appreciate his ideas, he’s given some good speeches in Iowa, and I think he’s incredibly smart. He has certainly not shied away from social conservatives, unlike Mitt Romney who thinks he can find a path to victory by avoiding Iowa and South Carolina. There is also a perception in Iowa among caucus goers that he isn’t very accessible. An example he spent very little time with activists at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition forum back in March, other candidates spent time afterwards talking with those who attended – Speaker Gingrich left after his speech. He’s going to have to change that perception because Iowans expect candidates to be accessible. Right now I still think there is a void among potential caucus goers. I’m just not convinced he’s the guy who will fill it.
Photo by Dave Davidson