March 5, 1996 in Nation/World

Gingrich Decides To Go Public: His Primary Vote Was For Dole

Associated Press

House Speaker Newt Gingrich couldn’t keep it secret: He voted for Bob Dole on the eve of Georgia’s presidential primary.

The speaker made the admission Monday after Dole publicly thanked Gingrich for his vote.

“I would never reject the gratitude of the next president. Bob Dole is a close personal friend and great leader,” Gingrich said in a statement. “Together we passed the balanced budget, tax cuts and welfare reform, which when he is president will all be signed into law.

“And, I did vote for him this morning,” Gingrich added.

After casting the absentee ballot in his home district north of Atlanta, Gingrich at first kept mum on his choice for the GOP nomination. He said he and his wife “decided we would actually continue to vote in secret and not indicate a preference.”

That didn’t stop Dole from claiming Gingrich’s vote during a visit to an Atlanta recycling plant later in the day.

“I want to thank him for voting absentee today for Bob Dole,” Dole said.

Gingrich had previously refused to publicly support any of the candidates, pinning his neutrality on his desire to chair the Republican National Convention in San Diego in August.

Dole’s victory in South Carolina on Saturday has clearly made him the front-runner, Gingrich said.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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