GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich visits East Tennessee

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich visits East Tennessee

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Newt Gingrich is the latest presidential candidate to make the rounds in the area.

6 News anchor Gene Patterson had a chance to sit down with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney on Sunday.  Romney rallied his supporters at West Hills Elementary school in West Knoxville

Last Wednesday, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum spoke to a packed house at Temple Baptist Church in Powell.

And Monday, Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, stopped at the Airport Hilton to rally his troops.

And for good reason.  It appears he  is seeing a revival in Tennessee. After trailing badly in the polls for weeks at least two polls out Monday indicate he's neck and neck with opponents Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

At a rally at the Airport Hilton Gingrich urged his supporters to get out the vote Tuesday and said America under President Barack Obama is like watching children play.  "At some point the children's hour has to end and we have to get back to adult supervision," said Gingrich to a cheering crowd.

Monday's good news comes despite a tumultuous week for Gingrich's Tennessee campaign, which saw his State Co-chair Stacey Campfield announce on Tennessee This Week that he was stepping down and supporting Rick Santorum.

In an interview with 6 News, we asked Gingrich about Campfield's defection.  Gingrich said, "Candidly, I don't know what he was doing or why he did it, but there was an argument between him and our regional field coordinator and he either got his feelings hurt or something."

We spoke with Campfield Monday and he disputes Gingrich's explanation, but despite that wished Gingrich well in tomorrow's election.

As for the candidate, he says his re-emergence in the polls is not unexpected he's been counted out before.  "I just stay positive, big solutions and it's like they gradually come back. They've done it twice before and I think we're seeing a third time," said a smiling Gingrich.

But Gingrich knows to stay viable he has to win his home state of Georgia, which it appears he will, and he must do well in Tennessee.

"If we're competitive in six or seven states tomorrow.  And it would be great to win Tennessee both Tennessee and Georgia. Yes, it would be a big day for us tomorrow."

And if he can do that he could be around this Presidential race all the way to Tampa in August when Republicans gather for their National Convention.

 

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