It has become a commonality in American politics that many underdog presidential candidates are mostly in the race, at the end of the day, to raise their brand awareness and in turn boost their bottom line through lucrative consulting gigs and book deals that then come their way.
Not so, it turns out, for Newt Gingrich. The former Speaker of the House went into the GOP's primary with plenty of well-paying private sector work (including, famously, that $1.6 million gig as Freddie Mac's historian), and a personal net worth of between $6.7 million and $30.1 million. In addition to the more than $4 million of debt the campaign ended with, Newt left the race with those private ventures in shambles, reports Reuters.
Newt Inc., which also includes his nonprofit foundations, is deeply in debt. Even the profits from Callista's Gingrich Productions are in danger, thanks to bankruptcy proceedings for the former Gingrich Group-owned Center for Health Transformation (sold last May); a judge may force the couple to hand over much of its remaining net worth to settle those debts. And Newt's quixotic campaign looks like a huge part of the reversal of fortunes.
A political nonprofit he headed, American Solutions for Winning the Future, which raised $52 million between its founding in 2007 and its dissolution last July, also ended in debt.
The decline of the health policy center began earlier than previously realized. When Gingrich began considering a presidential bid in early 2010, "the membership began to drop off," according to Nancy Desmond, who served as managing partner of Gingrich Group LLC, which did business as the Center for Health Transformation. [...] Opened in 2003, the center pulled in $59 million over nine years from more than 300 companies, some of which paid as much as $200,000 in dues. Among its activities, the center and Gingrich helped push a mandate requiring everyone to carry health insurance. At the time, the position was beneficial to the center's healthcare industry members, but Gingrich later repudiated it as a candidate.
Perhaps, then, Gingrich needs to focus his private sector energy on the policy positions he was most passionate and consistent about. Maybe he can get a gig consulting with NASA and turn this space ship around?