Gingrich campaign more than $1M in debt

FILE - In this Monday, July 4, 2011 file picture, Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich waves while walking in a Fourth of July parade in Clear Lake, Iowa. Since aides and advisers resigned in early June, Newt Gingrich
Charlie Neibergall

There are new troubles this morning for Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign.

The former House Speaker's popularity already trails that of other Republican hopefuls in the race for the White House. Now his campaign reports it is more than a million dollars in debt.

Almost half is for private air travel.

His first campaign finance disclosure report, filed Friday, showed that Gingrich had raised $2.1 million since getting into the race, in which he badly trails the front-runner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Gingrich's campaign suffered a big blow last month when 18 key aides and advisors abruptly quit.

He has pledged to stay in the race.

Gingrich was in Iowa Friday and aides said he expects to spend more time in the state in coming weeks, even as he plans to skip the Iowa straw poll later this summer that had at one point been seen as a key part of his campaign there.

He has not moved to replace most of the consultants and staff members who left. His operations in early-voting states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina rely on volunteers rather than paid staff.

Gingrich argues that the kind of grass-roots, Internet-driven campaign he wants to run can function with a lean staff.

"I am very different than normal politicians, and normal consultants found that very hard to deal with," Gingrich said during an appearance in Atlanta last month. He outlined a strategy that he contended would allow him to continue to plug away at issues while the other candidates beat up each other and, inevitably, fumble.

Gingrich's tactic: Be the last candidate standing.

Gingrich has seemed something of a long shot to win the nomination. He carries heavy personal baggage, including three marriages and an admission of adultery, into a primary where evangelical voters hold powerful sway.