Gingrich $4 million in debt, cancels N.C. appearances

In this April 2, 2012, file photo Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, waits to speak at a campaign stop in Frederick, Md.. Gingrich, who once led his rivals for the nomination in polls, is today millions in debt and describing Mitt Romney as "far and away the most likely" GOP nominee.
AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt, File
File,AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt

(CBS News) Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign is over $4 million in debt and the pace of its fundraising has fallen significantly behind its spending, according to figures released by the campaign Friday evening.

In its March report, the campaign posted spending of a little over $2 million while it raised only $1.6 million. It reported debt of $4.3 million.

However, the pro-Gingrich Super PAC is in much better financial shape. In March, Winning Our Future raised $5,036,485, almost all of which came on March 21 with a $5 million check from Miriam Adelson, wife of billionaire Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.

Adelson and family, the nation's top individual super PAC donors, have given $21.5 million to the pro-Gingrich group, which entered April with $5.8 million cash on hand.

Gingrich also abruptly canceled events scheduled next week in North Carolina, one of two states, with Delaware, that he was banking on to win. The Shelby Star, in Cleveland County, N.C., reported Friday evening that Gingrich canceled all of his upcoming appearances in the state. He had planned a tour of Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties.

Local GOP leaders learned of the cancelations late Friday afternoon, the newspaper said. Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond, asked about the cancelations, told National Journal/CBS News that the events were being reinstated. However, he said, the campaign is shifting its focus to Delaware.

"Our goal is to become first in the First State," he said. "We're hopeful also for Pennsylvania, where we have the first four slots on the ballot. So we're looking for those wins. ... Every time there's a convention-- Colorado being a good example - there's a lot of delegates walking out not for (Mitt) Romney. All these things add up for us to a sign that we need to keep scrapping, keep fighting."

But the developments fueled speculation that Gingrich is considering dropping out of the primary race, in spite of his repeated assertions that he will stay in all the way to the Republican convention in Tampa, Fla., in August. Romney, who has the nomination all but sewn up, has ignored Gingrich's continued presence in the race, as have most major Republican officeholders and most media outlets.

Additional reporting by CBS News' Phil Hirschkorn

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