By BETH FOUHY, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Republican Newt Gingrich says he plans to campaign for president until the party's nominating convention in August, but his candidacy largely rests on the results of Tuesday's primaries in Alabama and Mississippi.
The former House speaker is banking on a Southern strategy that has yielded victories only in South Carolina and Georgia, the latter a state he represented in Congress for 20 years. Winning both contests Tuesday is vital to sustaining his limping candidacy.
Gingrich's campaign appearances Tuesday include a speech to an Alabama community chamber of commerce and a visit to the Birmingham Zoo. He is hosting a primary night event in Birmingham before a trip to Chicago ahead of the Illinois primary on March 20.
Polling shows a tight three-way race among Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in both Alabama and Mississippi.
In an address to the Alabama Republican Presidential Forum in Birmingham on Thursday, Gingrich implored voters to turn out and support his candidacy.
"I've stayed in this race for two reasons," he said. "I do not believe the two other candidates can beat President Obama. We have to win in a principled way with a big enough agenda and enough momentum to change Washington decisively."