TODAY'S PAPER
Good Morning
Good Morning
NewsNation

N.H. paper's support for Newt changes race

WASHINGTON -- New Hampshire's largest newspaper endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich Sunday, signaling that Mitt Romney isn't the universal favorite in the 2012 GOP presidential race and potentially resetting the contest before the state's lead-off primary Jan. 10.

"We are in critical need of the innovative, forward-looking strategy and positive leadership that Gingrich has shown he is capable of providing," The Union Leader, Manchester, said in its front-page editorial, which was as much a promotion of Gingrich as a discreet rebuke of Romney.

"We don't back candidates based on popularity polls or big-shot backers. 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 editorial said.

Romney enjoys solid leads in New Hampshire polls and remains at the front of the pack nationally. A poll released last week showed him with 42 percent support among likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire. Gingrich followed with 15 percent in the WMUR-University of New Hampshire Granite State poll.

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas posted 12 percent support and former Utah Gov. John Huntsman found 8 percent support in that survey.

Those numbers could shift, based on the backing of The Union Leader, a newspaper with a conservative editorial stance that proudly works to influence elections, from school boards to the White House, in the politically savvy state.

The endorsement, signed by publisher Joseph W. McQuaid, suggested that the only state-wide newspaper in New Hampshire was ready to again assert itself as a player in the GOP primary.

"We don't have to agree with them on every issue," the newspaper wrote in an editorial that ran across the width of the front page. "We would rather back someone with whom we may sometimes disagree than one who tells us what he thinks we want to hear."

While Romney enjoys solid support in national polls, the large pack of Republicans has shifted all year from candidate to candidate in search of an alternative to the former Massachusetts governor.

News Photos and Videos