ATLANTA — Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is banking on a big win in Georgia Tuesday to keep his fading hopes of winning the nomination alive.
"It looks now like in Georgia we will carry the state by four or five times the margin that Romney had in Michigan," Gingrich told supporters in Alcoa, Tenn., Monday.
The former House speaker was hoping that momentum from an expected win in the state he represented in Congress for 20 years would propel his campaign, which has struggled since his lone victory in the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary.
But he sent signals he would continue by campaigning in Alabama Tuesday before the votes in Georgia are counted. Likewise, Gingrich plans to begin airing ads this week in Alabama and Mississippi. Both states hold their primaries Mar. 13.
Gingrich leads by wide margins in Georgia polls. He trails former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in Tennessee, although the race there is tight and Gingrich was closing the gap in some surveys.
"We have the chance to win a stunning victory here in Tennessee," Gingrich told 200 supporters near Knoxville.
Gingrich campaigned doggedly across Tennessee Monday, while a key supporter, former candidate Herman Cain, campaigned for him in Oklahoma before joining him at a rally in Chattanooga.
Gingrich touted himself as the only candidate experienced with the issues facing the nation, drawing on his four years as House speaker during the Clinton administration.
"The biggest difference in this race between the three major contenders is one of us has consistently shown leadership," Gingrich told about 150 people in the upstairs conference room of a Food King grocery store in Kingsport, Tenn.
Gingrich has been helped by four political action committees, including one financed largely by billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.
Yet Gingrich sought to portray a win in Georgia as a triumph in light of heavy spending on anti-Gingrich attack ads by the pro-Romney political action committee Restore Our Future.