GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich received the endorsement of the influential editorial board of the New Hampshire Union Leader on Sunday, providing another boost to his surging campaign.
The endorsement gives the former House Speaker additional momentum after a month which has seen him vault to the top of national GOP polls.
"We are in critical need of the innovative, forward-looking strategy and positive leadership that Gingrich has shown he is capable of providing," said the editorial by publisher Joseph W. McQuaid.
The endorsement alludes to his baggage:
Readers of the Union Leader and Sunday News know that we don't back candidates based on popularity polls or big-shot backers. We look for conservatives of courage and conviction who are independent-minded, grounded in their core beliefs about this nation and its people, and best equipped for the job.We don't have to agree with them on every issue. We would rather back someone with whom we may sometimes disagree than one who tells us what he thinks we want to hear.
Newt Gingrich is by no means the perfect candidate. 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. He has the experience, the leadership qualities and the vision to lead this country in these trying times. He is worthy of your support on January 10.
Does it matter for the New Hampshire primary? The record is mixed, as Steve Benen writes at The Washington Monthly:
1976: The paper endorsed Ronald Reagan over Gerald Ford, but Reagan lost
1980: Reagan won the endorsement and the primary
1988: The Union Leader supported Pete du Pont, who finished fourth in the primary
1992: The paper supported Pat Buchanan, who finished a competitive second against an incumbent president
1996: The Union Leader again backed Buchanan, who this time won the primary
2000: Steve Forbes won the paper’s endorsement, in advance of a third-place showing
2008: The Union Leader supported John McCain, who won the state’s primary
Given this recent history, it’s a stretch to think today’s endorsement will suddenly propel Gingrich into contention. But given the Union Leader’s influence, it’s probably fair to say New Hampshire voters who weren’t sure about the disgraced former House Speaker will give the guy another look.