Changes in the Republican Primary Race: Gingrich and Johnson on the Move

Newt Gingrich Gets Big Endorsement in NH and Gary Johnson Mulls Move to Libertarian Party

ANALYSIS | The Associated Press reports that Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives and current candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2012 presidential election, has landed a key endorsement in New Hampshire. The state's largest newspaper, the New Hampshire Union Leader, gave the Clinton-era conservative an upset victory: Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney was a far-and-ahead leader-of-the-pack with 42 percent of the New Hampshire vote to Newt's second-place percent.

The endorsement, coming six weeks before the beginning of the Republican primaries, can be seen as a boost for on-the-rise Gingrich and a blow for Romney, the longtime Massachusetts frontrunner who has recently seen both Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich rise as viable challengers. Romney, a candidate for the GOP nomination in 2008, saw eventual nominee John McCain win the same endorsement four years ago. The Romney camp should be fretting about the possibility of history repeating itself and begin double-checking its strategies.

While the endorsement may not be enough to be a major game-changer for the aging Gingrich (who carries a veritable mountain of political baggage from his 1990s Congressional tenure), it may cause more people to give the ex-Congressman a brief chance. While many candidates may not be able to work campaign magic with an extra moment of voters' attention, Newt Gingrich is one of the few who probably can, especially with his proven record of bipartisan performance in the U.S. Capitol and his famous 1994 "Contract With America."

Look for this endorsement to move Gingrich to replace Herman Cain as primary challenger to Mitt Romney.

According to the AFP, GOP presidential candidate and former governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson is considering leaving the Republican field and seeking the Libertarian nomination for prez. Johnson is openly angry with the media, and the Republican Party, for excluding him from Republican debates and ignoring him in many political polls.

The Libertarian Party espouses personal freedom more than traditional conservatism, according to its website, and is on the ballot in all 50 states. However, it has never won a noticeable portion of the presidential vote. Could Gary Johnson give the unnoticed political party a boost?

Undoubtedly, the potential exists for an amazing comeback story: Johnson, a two-term governor, is a self-made man and accomplished adventurer, reports He has personal and political achievements under his belt and, in my opinion, should not be overlooked by the media or the Republican Party. With swings in public opinion boosting former political nobodies like non-pol Herman Cain and '90s throwback Newt Gingrich to the forefront at almost a moment's notice, it stands to reason that Gary Johnson could be on the rise within days.

If Gary Johnson gets a polling bump and then switches quickly to the Libertarian Party, he could give that political party the biggest boost it has ever had.

He wouldn't win a spot in the Oval Office, but he would make a name for himself and create a newsworthy change in the political game.