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September 25. 2013 7:34PM

NH GOP activist says he is not behind ‘Draft Newt’ effort

Former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich’s attorney has demanded a group trying to “Draft Newt” to run for the U.S. Senate from Virginia to “cease and desist” its activities.

The “Draft Newt” group has sent at least two emails nationally, both with messages signed by Andrew Hemingway of Bristol, a conservative activist who headed Gingrich’s New Hampshire campaign for President in the 2012 campaign.

One email quotes Hemingway as saying he is “leading the effort.” The other quotes Hemingway as saying “I am launching” the grassroots petition.

But Hemingway said Tuesday he is only peripherally involved.

Hemingway said the Gingrich supporters in Virginia who organized the group “just asked me to lend my name to a couple of emails” because he is a prominent supporter.

“And being an ardent supporter of Newt, and liking the idea of having Newt in the Senate, I was happy to do it,” he said.

But he said he neither launched nor is “leading the effort” and that his name does not appear on any official filings for the group.

The Washington-based Politico.com in a report Tuesday said Hemingway “founded” the “Draft Newt” group and that Gingrich’s attorney demanded the group “cease and desist from the unauthorized use of Speaker Gingrich’s name or likeness” and “from any activity implying or insinuating that your group is in any way authorized by, or affiliated with, Speaker Gingrich or his organizations.”

“That’s wrong,” Hemingway told us. “I am not a founder.”

Hemingway said the true organizers of the group have told him “they have responded by complying with the request.”

“Draft Newt” treasurer Dan Barker told Politico the group has forwarded to Gingrich’s attorney the 8,400 names on an online petition the group received.

jdistaso@unionleader.com


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