Mitt Romney, who gathered his Florida team months ago and is flush with cash, has a big head start when it comes to organization in the Sunshine State. But Newt Gingrich's campaign is conceding nothing, arguing that their own well-staffed operation can more than hold its own.
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On paper, Gingrich's operation is certainly robust. He actually has more paid staff than Romney in the state, 14 versus 5, and expects to have 7 campaign offices open by Tuesday's final vote, versus 5 for Romney. The campaign claims to have at least 5,000 volunteers and is generating some excitement among Tea Party groups, including a number of local organizers who previously worked on Herman Cain's campaign.
In interviews, Gingrich volunteers described a late explosion of grassroots activity after the South Carolina debate, in which Gingrich excoriated the press over questions surrounding his marriage, and Newt's subsequent double-digit victory over Romney.
"It's a late bloomer," Dr. J. Patrick Fuller, a precinct captain for Gingrich in Brevard County, said of the local operation. "It was building before South Carolina, but that was the jewel on the cake -- Newt ought to buy [debate moderator] John King a steak dinner."