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As Newt Gingrich surged, cash rolled in

By Kim Geiger, Tribune Washington Bureau –

WASHINGTON — Newt Gingrich will report raising at least $9.3 million since the beginning of October, including more than $4.6 million in the month of November alone, when the former House speaker was surging in the polls, according to preliminary numbers provided by the campaign.

The fourth-quarter haul, which covers the period from Oct. 1 through the end of the year, gave a much-needed boost to a campaign that, strapped for cash, had to scramble to build the infrastructure to capitalize on an unexpected mid-November surge.

He has since slipped, particularly in Iowa, where the first nominating contest will take place next Tuesday.

Gingrich’s monthly fundraising totals track roughly with his fortunes in the polls.

He raised $1.28 million in October, when national polls and surveys of likely Iowa caucus-goers had him climbing while Mitt Romney and Herman Cain battled it out for the lead.

By November, Cain’s upstart campaign was deflated by persistent allegations of sexual harassment and an affair. Gingrich surged ahead, and raked in $4.62 million that month.

But December brought an end to Gingrich’s brief stint atop the polls. He now trails Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul in Iowa, where he and former Sen. Rick Santorum appear to be vying for third place. Nationally, Romney has reclaimed the top spot, with Gingrich trailing in close second. He has raised more than $3.4 million so far this month.

With Gingrich’s rise came a steady stream of attacks from rivals and outside groups who back them. Gingrich has spent $1 million so far airing ads in Iowa, including $500,000 spent this week alone.

Gingrich’s chief campaign spokesman, R.C. Hammond, suggested Wednesday that the campaign, which fell $1.2 million into debt in the spring and summer months, “won’t have a lot” of cash going into the new year. The campaign will also carry some debt into 2012, he said.

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