Former speaker of the U.S. House and current GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has received the coveted endorsement of the highly-influential New Hampshire "The Manchester Union Leader," an endorsement
Republican rival Mitt Romney has adamantly sought.
The New Hampshire Union Leader wrote in Sunday's editions that the former Georgia lawmaker is the choice of the conservative editorial page. The decision was published in a banner headline across the front page of the Sunday edition.
"We don't back candidates based on popularity polls or big-shot backers," the newspaper wrote. "We look for conservatives of courage and conviction who are independent-minded, grounded in their core beliefs about this nation and its people, and best equipped for the job."
The Union Leader has long had great sway in Republican politics in the state and the newspaper used Page One editorials and columns to help Sen. John McCain win the state's primary four years ago and start his path to the GOP's nomination.
Gingrich has now fully reached a pinnacle as a front-runner. He shares this title with Romney, who has established himself as the consistent man to beat by the amorphous GOP field.
The endorsement suggests Gingrich has the potential to beat Romney in the New Hampshire primary. This "first in the nation" primary is considered to be a must-win for Romney. (Continues here)