Gingrich picks up newspaper endorsement in New Hampshire

The Takeaway

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the current front-runner in the GOP primary, is poised to give former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney a run for his money in New Hampshire.

Romney has led most of the polls but recently fell behind Gingrich, who is surging as more conservative voters look for someone — other than Romney — to throw their support behind.

Gingrich just got some support in his effort to win the state's Jan. 10 primary: The Union-Leader of Manchester, N.H., endorsed Gingrich over the weekend.

"Newt Gingrich is by no means the perfect candidate," the Union-Leader wrote. "But Republican primary voters too often make the mistake of preferring an unattainable ideal to the best candidate who is actually running. In this incredibly important election, that candidate is Newt Gingrich."

Jennifer Rubin, a writer for the Washington Post blog Right Turn, said the endorsement really isn't a big deal, however.

"Frankly, the Union-Leader rarely chooses the leader and I think Mitt Romney's large lead in the polls is likely to hold up. It's pretty much a state tailor-made for him," Rubin, a conservative, said.

What's a bigger question, she said, is whether Romney can make a strong enough showing in Iowa to make the argument that the whole primary election is essentially over and he should be the nominee.

The social conservatives and tea party activists have splintered among Michelle Bachmann, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum, as well as Gingrich, making it extremely difficult for one candidate to mount a strong enough challenge against Romney, at least in Iowa.

"If some of those people drop out, those (voters) may coagulate around a single candidate," she said. "At least initially, (Romney) is going to have an advantage of having a block of moderate voters."

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.