Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich signaled that he will seek the Republican nomination for president, saying he will “talk about my run” in two days.
“I have been humbled by all the encouragement you have given me to run,” Gingrich said in a posting on his Facebook page today. “Thank you for your support.” He said he will appear on the Fox News cable television channel May 11 “to talk about my run for president of the United States.”
He will also officially announce his candidacy that same day on the Facebook and Twitter social-network sites, spokesman Rick Tyler said in an e-mail.
Gingrich, 67, led Republicans to win the majority in the House in 1994, ending the party’s 40 years as the minority in the chamber. He left Congress four years later.
In recent months he has visited Iowa, site of the first presidential nominating caucuses early next year, and New Hampshire, site of 2012’s first primary. Gingrich will travel to Iowa next week, Tyler said.
Gingrich, of Georgia, set up a website on March 3 to accept donations for a possible presidential run.
The race for the Republican nomination to take on President Barack Obama has gotten off to a slow start, compared with the races in both parties in 2007-2008. Gingrich would be the first among the better-known prospects to officially commit to a presidential run, and no Republican has emerged as a clear frontrunner in polls.
Gingrich was one of six of his party’s potential candidate polling in double digits among Republican voters in a CNN survey taken April 29-May 1. He trailed former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, real-estate developer Donald Trump, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and 2008 vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, and was tied with Representative Ron Paul of Texas at 10 percent.
A former college professor, Gingrich twice ran unsuccessfully for the House before winning his first term in 1978.
He led a Republican effort against then-House Speaker Jim Wright, a Texas Democrat, for ethical violations. Wright resigned in May 1989, decrying “mindless cannibalism” among lawmakers.
Earlier that year House Republicans had elected Gingrich minority whip, succeeding Dick Cheney, a Wyoming Republican who gave up his House seat to serve as defense secretary under President George H.W. Bush.
Elected speaker in January 1995 after the new Republican majority took office, he is the only lawmaker holding that post to be officially sanctioned over ethical questions. He was reprimanded in 1997 by the House and paid $300,000 to settle claims that he used tax-exempt organizations for political purposes and gave misleading statements during an investigation.
Stalemates over policy that pitted Gingrich and other congressional Republicans against Democratic President Bill Clinton resulted in government shutdowns in 1995 and 1996, an issue similar to current budget battles.
A CNN-USA Today poll in November 1995 showed 49 percent of respondents blaming Republican leaders in Congress for the shutdown, compared with 26 percent who blamed Clinton.
Gingrich’s public image also suffered a blow that same month when he complained about his treatment on Air Force One while traveling with Clinton’s entourage to the funeral for slain Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The New York Daily News ran a front-page cartoon of Gingrich under the headline, “Cry Baby.”
Gingrich championed the impeachment by the House of Clinton over the president’s relationship with a White House intern. The case ended with the Senate failing to convict Clinton of the charges against him in February 1999. It later was disclosed that Gingrich was having an extramarital affair with the woman who became his third wife while promoting the proceedings against Clinton.
He announced his resignation from Congress in November 1998 after the House Republicans lost seats for the second-straight election, though kept their majority.