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Gingrich camp: Check's in the mail to Utah

Published April 11, 2012 7:11 pm

Politics • Candidate assures he will be on Utah primary ballot.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Washington • After the story of Newt Gingrich's rubber check to Utah bounced around the Internet and made for jocular fodder on television newscasts, the former House speaker's campaign says it has sent a new check — a good one — to ensure Gingrich is on the state's primary ballot.

Gingrich's first $500 check to the state was returned by the bank, but Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond says once notified — by certified letter and news reports on Tuesday — the campaign has a new check in the mail.

"We have the full expectations that the director of elections, the lieutenant governor and the governor will make sure that Newt Gingrich is on the ballot," Hammond said Wednesday.

The initial check was printed in December and mailed in March, Hammond said, but the campaign had moved to a new account during that time.

The certified letter was postmarked from Utah on Monday, arriving at the same time as The Salt Lake Tribune's Paul Rolly was reporting in his column about the returned check.

"We certainly admire the director's eagerness to pursue his duties," Hammond said.

Elections Director Mark Thomas was not available Wednesday, but office administrator Spencer Hadley said that when a new check arrives, Gingrich would be assured his spot on the Utah ballot.

Hadley also acknowledged that the office had not sent an email to the Gingrich campaign until after the news broke, and that when they had tried to reach the campaign by phone, they were unable to leave a message.

For his part, Gingrich isn't shy in noting that he's on a tight budget.

"As the reporters who travel with me can tell you, I have a very frugal campaign," Gingrich said at a campaign event in Delaware on Wednesday. "We can't afford TelePrompTers."

Joking aside, Gingrich said on Fox News this weekend that he had loaned his campaign funds to keep operating and the candidate has vowed to remain in the race even though he has noted that Mitt Romney is the expected nominee.

That said, once his check clears, Gingrich will be one of five candidates on the Utah primary ballot for June 26 that also includes Romney, Ron Paul, Fred Karger and now-withdrawn candidate Rick Santorum.

Romney, who took 90 percent of the primary vote in Utah in 2008, has a lock on the Republican nomination but is looking for a nice bounce out of Utah's last-in-the-nation contest — a different kind than that associated with Gingrich's check.

tburr@sltrib.com