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Newt Gingrich lays off a third of campaign staff, insists he's still in the race

GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is cutting around a third of his campaign staff and cutting back on engagements, a move that suggests the third-place candidate is struggling to stay in the race.

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A supporter of Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich holds a bumper sticker at a rally in Golden, Colorado. (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Newt Gingrich has laid off around a third of his campaign staff, but insists he's still in the race. 

The Republican presidential candidate, currently in third place, has drastically cut his full-time staff, switched his campaign manager and cut back his travel schedule, Politico reported

More from GlobalPost: Newt Gingrich says he's "staying in the race"

"We're focusing exclusively on what it'll take to win what we're going to be calling a big-choice convention in August," Joe DeSantis, Gingrich's communications director, told the news group.

He said campaign manager Michael Krull has been replaced by his deputy, Vince Haley, while a dozen more staff members "will be transitioning out by the end of the month."

Gingrich will make fewer public appearances and focus instead on low-cost means of communication such as online videos and social media, according to DeSantis. Meanwhile Gingrich will attempt to win over Republican delegates personally ahead of the party's convention in Tampa, Florida, in August, spokesman R.C. Hammond told the Associated Press.

A recent finance report revealed the Gingrich campaign to have more debt than cash, the Washington Post reported, and the candidate admitted last night that money was "very tight."

However, he insisted that he would not leave the race early.

"We're staying in, that's exactly why we're downsizing," Gingrich told Washington DC's WTOP radio this morning. "We're doing the appropriate things to be able to campaign."

But most commentators saw the cut backs as the death knell for Gingrich's campaign. "At this point, the campaign is existing only for its own sake and the sake of Newt's ego," wrote the Atlantic Wire's Dashiell Bennett, who argued that Gingrich's primary aim now is simply to block Mitt Romney – and he would have more chance of doing so by teaming up with Rick Santorum.

Santorum himself commented he wouldn't call on anyone to drop out, but said it was "time for all the Republican candidates to coalesce behind me," ABC News reported. "I think what we’re seeing is the race is clearly becoming a two-person race."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120328/newt-gingrich-cuts-third-campaign-staff