With apologies to Fred Karger, Herman Cain, and former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer, the GOP field will be getting its first heavyweight. Today Newt Gingrich announced his own Presidential exploratory committee.
Over the last year I’ve watched a failure in leadership, and have spent a lot of time thinking and praying about taking the first step. I am writing you to ask for your advice, as Callista and I consider whether or not I should run in 2012.
What I need to do right now is listen to and learn from people all across America. I need to be certain that if I run, my candidacy will have the support it will need to make a positive difference for our nation. However, I can’t do it alone. What I am hoping you will do is help me and support me during this exploratory process.
I have asked a lot from you over the years. In return you have humbled me by demonstrating your talent, energy, and financial sacrifice that reflect how deeply you and others like you, care about our nation. You are an indispensable part of helping me decide what to do next, and I have to tell you, I need you now more than ever before. If I run, this will be the single biggest challenge we’ve ever faced together.
With Newt joining this not-so-crowded field, this will likely mean a slew of the other probable contenders will be making their own decisions shortly (as in by month’s end) so as not to let Gingrich get too much of a lead in fundraising and exposure. In particular, those who are considered among the field’s lesser lights will likely need to jump in shortly while someone like Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney could wait a bit longer.
Since a couple other legislators (Indiana Rep. Mike Pence and South Dakota Sen. John Thune) have taken a pass on the race, Gingrich could be one of the few Washington insiders to make a run. However, most of his Beltway experience of late has come as a political gadfly as the last election he won came back in 1998. He served in the House for nearly 20 years and was Speaker of the House from 1995-98.
The 67 year old Gingrich will also be a generation removed from the incumbent, although several other contenders are also in their sixties (including the three aforementioned with exploratory committees.)
So now the chess game can begin as the other pieces will be placed on the board and arrayed against the Barack Obama re-election machine.