Gingrich's check bounces in Utah

Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich talks to members of the Hispanic community at a private residence at Oakland Plantation Estates in Kenner, La., Friday, March 23, 2012.
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
Newt Gingrich
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Updated at 1:40 p.m. ET

(CBS News) Newt Gingrich is intent on carrying his Republican presidential campaign all the way to the GOP nominating convention in Tampa, but his money troubles aren't making it easy.

The Gingrich campaign in March submitted the necessary paperwork and the $500 check to get on the ballot for the Utah primary, but the check bounced, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. The state notified the campaign that if the fee isn't paid by April 20, Gingrich won't qualify to get on the ballot.

Utah's June 26 primary is the very last Republican nominating contest this year. If Mitt Romney hasn't wrapped up the nomination before then, he could in Utah, where his Mormon faith has made him very popular.

Even so, the Gingrich campaign told Hotsheet that it sent along a $500 check today. "We are confident the director of elections will secure Newt's place on the ballot," campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond said.

Gingrich has acknowledged this week carrying nearly $4.5 million in campaign debt, and he recently had to significantly cut back on his staff.

The candidate, however, said today that the money mishap in Utah didn't have to do with his campaign debt.

"This is one of those goofy things," he told reporters. "That check was drawn in December. The account actually was closed by the time they processed it. It wasn't a question of money. That particular bank account was closed."

After Rick Santorum suspended his campaign on Tuesday, Gingrich was quick to appeal to conservatives for their support and their cash, posting a fundraising appeal online for "the last conservative standing."

At this point in the race, according to CBS News estimates, Gingrich has just 128 delegates, while Romney has 645. A candidate needs 1,144 to secure the nomination outright.

With reporting from CBS News/ National Journal reporter Lindsey Boerma.