Ellsville, Miss. — Spurning calls for him to get out, Newt Gingrich insisted Friday that he'll stay in the race for the Republican presidential nomination even if he loses two Southern primaries next week.
"I think there's a fair chance we'll win," the former House speaker told The Associated Press in an interview about the contests Tuesday in Alabama and Mississippi. "But I just want to set this to rest once and for all. We're going to Tampa."
Gingrich said he intended to campaign all the way to the Republican National Convention in August, regardless of whether he has won the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination.
His comments contradicted a key aide's earlier assertion that Gingrich must win both states to remain viable.
Asked if he must win the pair of contests, Gingrich replied: "No."
Gingrich, who represented Georgia in Congress for two decades, spent most of the week shuttling between Alabama and Mississippi. He won a home field primary in Georgia, his only victory among the 10 states that voted Tuesday, and canceled a scheduled trip to Kansas, which holds caucuses Saturday, to concentrate on the Deep South.
His only other win of the nominating season came in South Carolina in January.