Some Republican lawmakers wary of Newt Gingrich presidential nomination

December 15, 2011

By Paul Kane, The Washington Post

Republicans on Capitol Hill are increasingly worried about the potential of a Newt Gingrich presidential nomination, fearful that the former House speaker’s reputation for volatility could drive away independent voters and jeopardize GOP prospects for controlling Congress in 2013.

Just a few months ago, Gingrich was an afterthought in the campaign. But his sudden rise over the past month has given pause to congressional Republicans who thought President Obama’s troubles with the economy could firm up their majority in the House and a new majority in the Senate.

The resistance to Gingrich’s surge is based on his reputation for unpredictabilty and a recognition that the success of Republican congressional campaigns will be inextricably linked to the party’s nominee.

One GOP strategist, Mike Murphy, this week described the potential of a Gingrich nomination as a “train wreck,” while Tom Davis, a former House campaign chairman, worries that Gingrich at the top of the ticket could be a drag on the party’s congressional chances, particularly in the Northeast.

Gingrich’s fiery speeches have energized some conservative voters on the campaign trail. But his tumultuous tenure in Congress has many Republicans fearing that his presidential campaign could jolt House and Senate candidates off their message of shrinking federal spending and blaming Obama for an economic malaise.

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