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New PAC Seeks Tea Party Support for Gingrich

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Solutions 2012, a new super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich, will focus on reaching out to tea party activists, the group’s founder told Roll Call.

Solutions 2012 founder Charlie Smith, a Denver-based strategist and former chair of the College Republican National Committee, sent out an email Wednesday night to at least 150,000 addresses on the NationalTeaPartyAlert.com mailing list trumpeting the former Speaker as the only candidate that can stand up to President Barack Obama in a national debate.

The timing — at about the same time Texas Gov. Rick Perry forgot which federal agency he wanted to ax and Herman Cain, fending off charges of sexual harassment, called House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi a “princess” — couldn’t have been better.

“They peaked at the wrong time,” Smith said of the self-described tea party candidates who one by one have risen and fallen in polls in the past several months.

“Our next step is going to be reaching out to official tea party groups like FreedomWorks, AFP and TheTeaParty.net,” he said. “We are going to have the capacity to reach out to millions of millions of tea partyers.”

The group raised more than $10,000 from about 200 donors in its first four hours of existence and plans to run television advertisements and send voter mail in key states such as Iowa. 

Gingrich, whose campaign stumbled out of the starting gate in the spring, has only recently started to rise in polls. The Georgia Republican has a long history of working with former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, who now heads FreedomWorks, the Washington-based conservative group that has helped galvanize tea party activists in opposition to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Despite a sense of inevitability surrounding Romney’s campaign, many powerful fundraisers and bundlers have remained on the sidelines. As Gingrich gains momentum, Washington insiders said they expected K Streeters and tea party leaders to flock.

“His whole a approach to politics has always been at the grass roots,” said Daniel Crowley, a Republican lobbyist at K&L Gates, who served as general counsel to Gingrich in his last term as Speaker. “Tea party activists are across the board on social issues, but they are unified in their concerns about the budget deficit and that’s Newt’s sweet spot.”

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