By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich (R) from Georgia is on a personal quest for the Presidency of the United States. Before he can get the opportunity to face President Barack H. Obama on November 6 for the Presidency he has to win the Republican Party’s nomination.
To win the nomination at the Republican Convention he must win a majority of the delegates from the state primaries and caucuses. Sen. Santorum won Iowa. Gov. Romney won New Hampshire. Speaker Gingrich won South Carolina in a landslide.
Three states are done and there are 47 more states to go. In this election cycle, Alabama’s Republican Primary is on March 13 and already Speaker Gingrich has assembled much of his Alabama leadership team. Alabama State Senator Jabo Waggoner has accepted Speaker Gingrich’s invitation to serve as his Alabama State Chairman. The ‘Alabama Political Reporter’ has obtained an exclusive interview with Chairman Waggoner.
The first question we asked of the Chairman is why he is backing Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Sen. Waggoner’s response said that his relationship with Newt Gingrich goes back to 1984. Sen. Waggoner first met Gingrich when Newt was just a young Georgia Congressman and Waggoner himself was running for Congress against an incumbent Democrat in Alabama’s Sixth District.
Then Vice President George H. Bush, former President Gerald Ford, and Rep. Newt Gingrich all came to Alabama to assist Waggoner in raising funds for that 1984 congressional race. Waggoner was ultimately unsuccessful in unseating then Democrat incumbent Benjamin Erdreich but he developed a friendship with the young congressman that has continued over the past 28 years since.
Sen. Waggoner admits that he has personal reasons for backing Speaker Gingrich; but Chairman Waggoner said “the ultimate goal is to beat Obama” and he is convinced that Gingrich is the Republican with the best chance of winning the general election. Waggoner said Gingrich’s “biggest strength is his intellect and knowledge of issues and his ability to debate and express his views.” Waggoner believes that Gingrich would make the best President.
Waggoner said that the Alabama Newt Gingrich team is still organizing and recruiting people to join their campaign, but the campaign released a preliminary organizational chart to the ‘Alabama Political Reporter,’ which includes people from all over the state of Alabama. Chairman Waggoner said that his goal is to eventually have a Newt 2012 Chairman in every county in Alabama. There will an announcement of the full leadership team at a press conference in the middle of February.
Sen. Waggoner says that he believes they can raise enough money to launch a statewide campaign. He says that the campaign is expecting that Gingrich could come to Alabama twice before the primary. The campaign is still organizing the events and working to get them scheduled.
Waggoner said that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was Gingrich’s strongest opponent for the Republican nomination. Waggoner said that Romney is very popular with people who make more than $250,000 a year and Romney had so much personal wealth that he could afford to run a campaign deep into the primary season.
Waggoner said that he expects that former Senator Rick Santorum to drop out of the race and that his supporters will likely go to Speaker Gingrich. Waggoner said that Rep. Ron Paul has no chance of winning the White House but that Paul’s Libertarian supporters could tip the election to Obama if they backed a third party candidate instead of the eventual Republican nominee.
Waggoner said that support from Tea Party assisted Speaker Gingrich’s win in South Carolina and believes that they will support Gingrich in Alabama as well. He said that the Tea Party recognizes that “Newt Gingrich is a real conservative” that supports small government. Waggoner said that the campaign’s numbers are growing every day and he is confident of a victory for Speaker Gingrich in Alabama.
Waggoner said that Speaker Gingrich could carry Alabama and win by such a large margin that Gingrich gets all of the available Alabama delegates like he did in South Carolina. Waggoner acknowledged that Gingrich had some “baggage,” but that all of us “have sinned and fallen short” at points in our lives, whether it was recorded or not.
Chairman Jabo Waggoner is an attorney. He has served in the Alabama Senate since 1990 and before that served in the Alabama House of Representatives since 1966. He is the Republican Majority Leader in the Senate and recently became Chairman of the powerful Alabama Senate Rules Committee.
For more information about former Speaker Gingrich’s campaign:
Below is a preliminary organization chart of the Alabama Newt 2012 Leadership Team:
Alabama Newt 2012 Leadership Team
Senator Jabo Waggoner – Alabama State Chair Newt 2012
STATE REGIONAL CHAIRS
Central Alabama Chair– former State Sen. Larry Dixon
South Alabama Chair– former US Congressman Sonny Callahan
West Alabama Chair – Sen. Gerald Allen
North East Alabama Chair – Sen. Clay Scofield
East Alabama Chair – Sen. Gerald Dial
North West Alabama Chair – Sen. Greg Reed
South East Alabama Chair – Sen. Tom Whatley
Jefferson County Chair – Rep. Jim Carns
Jefferson County Vice Chair – former State Sen. Steve French
North Jefferson County Chair – former State Sen. Jack Biddle
Walker County Co-Chairs – former State Sen. Curt Lee & Jeff Grice
Elmore County Chair – Mike Holmes
Madison County Chair – Sam H. Givhan
Blount County Co-Chairs – Kristi Beavers & Mike Currier
Marshall & Jackson County Chair – Randy Jones
Colbert County Chair – Jim Bonner
Franklin County Chair – Bart Moss
St. Clair County – Ren Wheeler
Sumter County Chair – Billy McFarland
Talladega County Chair – Steve Dean
Crenshaw & Pike County Chairs – former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Terry Butts & Suze Butts
Geneva County Chair – Chris Bowden
Escambia, Baldwin County Chair – Danny Joyner
Tuscaloosa County Chair – Rep. John Merrill
Trussville Coordinator – City Councilman Wayne Taylor
City of Leeds Coordinators – Rep. Dickie Drake & Anita Drake
City of Adamsville Coordinator – Mayor Pam Palmer
Pinson & Clay Coordinator – former Clay Mayor Dr. Charles Hart
STATE FINANCE CHAIR
Sen. Slade Blackwell
COALITIONS & OPERATIONS
Communications & Campaign Coordinator – Michael Ciamarra
County & Grassroots Campaign Coordinator
Statewide Prayer Coordinator – Judy Carns
Lawyers With Newt – Co-Chairs Matt Lembke & Johnny Amari
Republican Women Co-Chairs – Margie George & Diane Zaragoza
Young Republicans Co-Chairs – Brooklyn Roberts & Jim Entrekin
College Republicans Co-Chairs – Cliff Sims & Jon Waggoner
UAB Campus Co-Chairs – Bradley Watts & Andrew Hays
Veterans with Newt – Sen. Bryan Taylor
Coalition with Newt to Repeal Obamacare Chair – Rep. Jim McClendon
ALABAMA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Rep. Jack Williams, Chairman of House Republicans for Newt
Rep. Jim McClendon, Springville
Rep. Jim Patterson, Meridianville
Rep. Wes Long, Guntersville
Rep. Barry Moore, Enterprise
Rep. Dickie Drake, Leeds
Rep. Randy Davis, Daphne
Rep. Kurt Wallace, Maplesville
Rep. April Weaver, Brierfield