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Gingrich Won't Vote in Virginia Primary

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Gingrich Won't Vote in Va. Primary

AP

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Neither Newt Gingrich nor his wife, Callista, will cast votes Tuesday in their home state of Virginia's Republican presidential primary.

NBC News has learned that the Gingriches have opted against voting in Virginia, one of the 11 states hosting primaries or caucuses on Super Tuesday.

“Newt and Callista are not casting a ballot in Virginia and they did not request an absentee one,” Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond told NBC News.

Only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are on the state’s ballot as the former House speaker failed to obtain enough required valid signatures for his name to appear on the Virginia ballot. Rick Santorum will also not appear on the ballot.

“In this Republican primary, when given a choice between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, they could not pick either one,” Hammond said.

That creates the situation where Gingrich is favored to win the Super Tuesday contest taking place in his old home state -- Georgia -- but won't be voting in the Super Tuesday state where he currently lives and is registered to vote -- Virginia.

Still, if Gingrich fails to capture the Republican nomination, he would vote in the general election in Virginia, which is regarded as a toss-up state in November.

According to Hammond, the Gingriches would back whichever Republican gets through the primary season “because no one is worse than Barack Obama.”

The couple's decision to sit out the primary isn't just a pointed gesture toward Romney and Paul. Their vote would also conceivably remind voters of the fact that Gingrich makes his home in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and has for quite some time. Gingrich has spent the better part of the past week focusing on winning a primary on Tuesday in Georgia, the state he represented in Congress for two decades.

Romney will return to Massachusetts, the state where he served as governor, to vote Tuesday in the Bay State's primary. His election night party is also in Boston.

Ironically, Romney is the favorite to win Virginia. He outpaced Paul by a wide margin in Sunday's NBC News/Marist poll.

Gingrich, along with Santorum and former presidential candidates Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Jon Huntsman filed a lawsuit against the state of Virginia months ago to include all candidates' names on the ballot. The effort, led by Gov. Perry, was unsuccessful. The legislature also never added any type of write-in capabilities to the ballot, forcing Virginians to choose only between the candidates whose names appear on the ballot.

The speaker said over the weekend as he campaigned in Ohio, he “had some problems in Virginia” but also noted his main focus on Super Tuesday has always been the state he represented in Congress for more than 20 years.

“I said all along that Georgia was the key because if we didn’t do well in Georgia I thought we could not go on,” Gingrich said Saturday in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Obama won Virginia in 2008 but Republicans have said they hope to be successful there in 2012.


Alex Moe is an NBC News Campaign Embed Reporter for Decision2012 covering Newt Gingrich. Read the national edition of First Read featuring Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro on msnbc.com.

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