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Georgia win keeps Gingrich in the race

By Shawna Shepherd, CNN Political Producer
updated 8:03 AM EST, Wed March 7, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Victory is Newt Gingrich's second of the 2012 primary/caucus season
  • Gingrich, a loser in other Super Tuesday races, says he's the tortoise in the GOP race
  • "I just take one step at a time," former House speaker says
  • Gingrich blames losses on barrage of attacks from Mitt Romney, super PAC

Atlanta (CNN) -- Despite a delegate math challenge ahead, Newt Gingrich vowed to stay in the GOP presidential race after he won Georgia's Super Tuesday primary.

It was expected the 20-year Georgia congressman would end up the victor of his longtime home state. Despite coming in third and fourth place in a majority of the Super Tuesday contests, a win in Georgia was enough for him to continue his White House run.

Gingrich likened his candidacy to a well-known fable when he described the fluctuation of the Republican presidential primary front-runner.

Get the latest news on Gingrich's campaign

"And now it's (Rick) Santorum and you just can't quite get across to them. It's all right, there are lots of bunny rabbits to run through. I'm the tortoise. I just take one step at a time," Gingrich said at his Super Tuesday election night party.

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One major upset the former House speaker neglected to mention was that he could not compete in Virginia, where he and his wife, Callista, reside and are registered to vote. He and Santorum ultimately conceded the state to Mitt Romney because they did not collect the required number of signatures to get their names on the ballot.

Super Tuesday results

The Gingrich campaign seized on his only Super Tuesday first-place finish by launching the "March Momentum Money Bomb" online fundraising campaign, which mirrors what the campaign did after his only other victory, which was in South Carolina on January 21.

"We have 173,000 donors already, 95% of them give less than $250," he said.

Rather than go after Santorum, Gingrich directed his ire at Romney by tying the front-runner's wealth to Wall Street. He told hundreds of people at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel in Atlanta, "You believed that people can make a difference, that in fact Wall Street money can be beaten by Main Street work."

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Exit polls showed voters whose income ranged from under $30,000 to $200,000 chose Gingrich by around a 2-1 margin. But Romney picked up more of Georgia voters who earn $200,000 or more -- of the 10% of voters who fell into that income bracket, Romney carried them 41% to 37%.

Gingrich won all but three of the Peach State's 159 counties. Romney picked up Savannah's Chatham County, which Gingrich visited last week. Romney also won metro Atlanta counties -- Fulton and DeKalb, both of which are partially in the 6th Congressional District, Gingrich's former district.

Gingrich continued to blame his losses on the barrage of negative attacks brought on by Romney and millions spent by the Restore Our Future super PAC, which supports the former Massachusetts governor. He also blamed the "elites," who he said want President Barack Obama elected to a second term.

"I hope the analysts in Washington and New York who spent June and July explaining our campaign was dead will watch this tonight and will learn a little from this crowd and this place," he said.

Gingrich is relying on upcoming votes in Southern states to deliver much-needed delegates to justify staying in the race. He will campaign in Alabama and Mississippi, which hold contests next Tuesday.

Ahead of the Kansas primary Saturday, Gingrich will make stops in Topeka, Wichita, Overland Park and Hutchinson on Friday and Saturday.

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