CELEBRATION, Fla. — Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Tuesday he expects the race for the GOP nomination will go on for six months no matter how the Florida primary turns out.
"Unless Romney drops out earlier," Gingrich quipped about chief rival Mitt Romney during a campaign stop in Orlando, one of several stops in central Florida on his primary day schedule.
Gingrich was hoping for an upset in Florida but bracing for a loss. Polls suggested rival Mitt Romney was headed toward a substantial victory.
Gingrich's campaign on Tuesday trumpeted news that he had raised $5 million in January, most of it coming after his decisive Jan. 21 victory in South Carolina. The details were not as positive: After raising nearly $10 million in the final three months of last year, the campaign was about $1.2 million in debt. Campaign finance reports show he ended the year with a little more than $2 million cash on hand.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, raked in $24 million for the fourth quarter.
Following the announcement of Florida's results, Gingrich planned to head to Nevada, which is set to hold its caucuses on Saturday. He has campaign stops scheduled on Wednesday in Reno, Carson City and Las Vegas.
Campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond said Gingrich won't skip states as the races moves to seven contests in February.
"We will compete in every contest that the country has to offer," Hammond said. "In a race where the media's picked front-runner hasn't broken 50 percent yet, that leaves a lot of math out there for the conservative side of the party to take up, which is how we'll stay competitive in the nomination."