Newt Gingrich will quit the race for the Republican presidential nomination next week, Fox News reported on Wednesday.
He will “suspend” his campaign on Tuesday, a senior aide told the channel, adding that he is expected to endorse rival Mitt Romney at the same time.
Gingrich himself unofficially conceded in a speech he made in North Carolina on Wednesday morning after he was badly beaten in Tuesday’s five primaries.
“I think you have to at some point be honest with what’s happening in the real world, as opposed to what you’d like to have happened,” Gingrich said in the speech to the Gaston County Republican Party in Cramerton, N.C.
“Governor Romney had a very good day yesterday,” Gingrich added. “He got 67 [percent] in one state, and he got 63 in another, 62 in another,” the National Journal reported.
“Now you have to give him some credit. I mean this guy’s worked six years, put together a big machine, and has put together a serious campaign.
“I think obviously that I would be a better candidate, but the objective fact is the voters didn’t think that,” Gingrich said. “And I also think it’s very, very important that we be unified.”
Gingrich said he would continue to campaign in North Carolina “as a citizen” adding, “We’re working out the details of our transition and we’ll have information for the press in the next couple of days.”
Gingrich won two states, South Carolina and Georgia, in the primary season but his campaign was eclipsed by that of Rick Santorum who emerged as the “anti-Romney” candidate.
Primaries on Tuesday showed that neither Gingrich nor the other remaining candidate, Ron Paul, are any real threat to Romney.
The former Massachusetts governor won all five handily with Paul coming in second in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York and Santorum – despite having dropped out of the race two weeks ago – coming in second in his native Pennsylvania.
Gingrich did clinch the number two spot in Delaware, but with less than half of Romney’s votes. Last week he was touting the state as one he could win.
Fox News’ Carl Cameron reported that Gingrich’s decision to plow on for another week was to give time for his supporters to gather for one final concession speech, which, he said, would probably be in Atlanta.
Cameron said that in the last few official days of his campaign, Gingrich will be “a very vocal civilian for causes of Republican conservative principles he holds dear.”
Now, Cameron said, the question is how strongly Gingrich will support Romney in the run-up to the November election.
Gingrich has long faced an uphill struggle to remain relevant in the race, but has always insisted he would stay in until the Republican National Convention in Tampa in late August.
Only on Tuesday, he told Newsmax in an exclusive interview that Romney would not be able to attract conservatives in sufficient numbers to allow him to beat President Barack Obama.
“It’s part of why I stay in the race — because we have 180,000 donors who have indicated very clearly to me that they want the last conservative standing to keep standing — and to not back off,” he said
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