Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks during a business forum, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, in Greenville, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
ATLANTA Several Georgia lawmakers, including the state's most powerful senator, are supporting Newt Gingrich's presidential bid.
State Senate President Tempore Tommie Williams threw his support behind Gingrich on Tuesday, calling the former Georgia congressman "smart enough to get the job done."
Gingrich did not attend the state Capitol news conference on Tuesday. His daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman, spoke on his behalf.
Gov. Nathan Deal, Gingrich's Georgia state Chairman was on hand. Deal had written a letter to Republican state legislators asking them to support Gingrich, whom he portrayed as the state's favorite son.
"I'd like you to join me and many fellow Georgians in endorsing our next president, Georgia's own, Newt Gingrich," Deal wrote.
Deal stuck with Gingrich when his campaign was left for dead earlier this year following the mass resignation of top staff.
The Republican governor noted that Gingrich now tops a long list of polls.
"It is a very different political environment we find ourselves in today," Deal observed.
The two served together in the U.S. House.
Gingrich's campaign said he now has the backing of 33 of the 236 members of the state Legislature.
State Sen. Barry Loudermilk, a Cartersville Republican, was among the legislators who threw his support to the former House speaker on Tuesday. He cited Gingrich's track record on the economy and returning power to the states.
Five members of the state's congressional delegation have lined up behind Gingrich, according to his campaign. They are Austin Scott, Lynn Westmoreland, Tom Price, Jack Kingston and Phil Gingrey.