In swing Ohio, Gingrich gaining the "not-Romneys"

December 26, 2011 - 4:41 AM
Gingrich 2012

Republican presidential candidate former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks during a campaign stop, Friday, Dec. 23, 2011, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

WEST CHESTER, Ohio (AP) — For Republicans in a key conservative region of Ohio, Newt Gingrich is picking up support as an alternative to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The former House speaker leads recent polling in Ohio, just as Republican presidential candidates prepare for the Jan. 3 caucuses in Iowa, with the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries close behind. Ohio's presidential primary is scheduled for March 6, one of the biggest prizes among about a dozen states voting on "Super Tuesday."

Some conservatives were eyeing Herman Cain. But Cain's decision to withdraw and Gingrich's performance in nationally televised debates helped some decide.

Romney hasn't been popular with the staunchest conservatives because of his past support for abortion rights and enacting a Massachusetts health care plan similar to President Barack Obama's overhaul.