03/28/2012 09:18 am ET Updated May 28, 2012

Newt Gingrich: Not Ending Campaign, Which Is 'Exactly Why We're Downsizing'

* Says cuts necessary to continue Republican campaign

* Cites dwindling cash flow

* Will not drop out until rival gets 1,144 delegates

By Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON, March 28 (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said on Wednesday he it not quitting the race for his party's nomination even though he has had to lay off staff and funds are low.

"We're staying in, that's exactly why we're downsizing," the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives said on WTOP radio in Washington. "Cash flow is shorter than we'd like it to be so we're doing the appropriate things to be able to campaign."

But the cuts do not signal the end of his presidential bid and he has no plans to drop out of the race, Gingrich said.

A campaign aide confirmed on Tuesday that the former Georgia congressman will lay off about a third of his campaign staff and is scaling back his schedule to focus on a strategy for the party's nominating convention.

Gingrich and rival Rick Santorum are challenging front-runner Mitt Romney for the chance to face President Barack Obama in the Nov. 6 presidential election. Conservatives are pressuring Gingrich to step aside so Santorum can lead the charge against Romney.

Gingrich told WTOP he will not concede the race until a rival gets the 1,144 GOP delegates needed to solidify the party's nomination.

"Romney has to earn this. We're not going to give it to him," he said of the former Massachusetts governor.

"I owe it to the people who have helped me in the last year to represent their views and their values," he added.

Gingrich has won only two contests in the Republican state-by-state nominating race and is in third place in the number of pledged delegates to the party's nominating convention in Tampa, Florida in August.

If Gingrich were to end his campaign, it could boost the prospects for Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania who is now the main challenger to front-runner Romney.

Texas congressman Ron Paul is also still in the Republican race. (Reporting By Susan Heavey; Editing by Vicki Allen)