In the wake of his big loss in the Florida Republican primary Tuesday, Newt Gingrich has a limited series of options for reviving his presidential candidacy.
His best chance for a comeback may be in Southern and border states, where GOP voters are particularly conservative and receptive to his anti-establishment message--as they were in the South Carolina primary, which Gingrich won on Jan. 21. He could also score wins in other conservative bastions.
But the showdowns in those states won't come until Super Tuesday on March 6, when Georgia and Tennessee hold nominating contests. Gingrich could do particularly well in Georgia, which he represented in the House of Representatives. He could also win the conservative states of Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota and Oklahoma on the same date. Even so, Gingrich looks relatively weak in other Super Tuesday states such as Massachusetts, Ohio and Vermont. Gingrich had the potential for a strong showing in Virginia on March 6, but he failed to qualify for the ballot there.
After that will come Texas on April 3, where Gingrich is believed to have a strong base.
The problem is that if Gingrich does well in the Southern states and rural areas, he could be dismissed as a regional or sectional candidate. This would hurt him in big Northern and Western states such as New York and California.
The states coming up immediately are not promising for Gingrich. Nevada and Maine hold nominating caucuses Saturday, and Colorado and Minnesota hold caucuses Tuesday. Organization is key in all of them, and Gingrich lags behind Romney in that department. Romney also has lingering strength in these four states from his last presidential run in 2008.
Gingrich's loss in the big, diverse state of Florida will also damage his ability to raise money, an important building block for any campaign.