Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich wants to fly the conservative flag in Republican nomination battle

Newt Gingrich has pleaded for the other two conservative candidates in the Republican primary race for president to drop out so he can fight on against Mitt Romney.

Gingrich, who lost by a landslide to Romney in Florida, is the leading conservative candidate left in the race but faces an uphill struggle if he is going to stage another comeback similar to the one that saw him take South Carolina.

"It is now clear that this will be a two-person race between the conservative leader Newt Gingrich and the Massachusetts moderate," said Gingrich.

The conservative Christian leader, Bob Vander Plaats, told IBTimes UK: "The conservative vote is split three ways and is therefore giving Romney a comfortable poll margin. Once it gets down to a two-horse race [however] you are most likely to see the conservative candidate win."

Gingrich has already said that he will continue to fight, telling supporters there are still "46 states to go".

His main problem is finance. Reports said he was down to his last $600,000 (£380,000) following a bitter attack ad battle with the former governor of Massachusetts. Gingrich warned his opponent: "We're going to have people power defeat money power in the next six months."

The two long-shot candidates, former senator Rick Santorum and congressman Ron Paul, remain in the Republican race, but they conceded Florida to their rivals early and moved their campaigning outside the state. In Florida, Santorum took 13% of the vote and Paul 7%.

Romney has been the frontrunner for most of the Republican campaign even as a series of challengers have soared in the polls and quickly faded. A former chief executive of a private equity firm, Romney has touted his business experience as he casts himself as the candidate most likely to defeat President Barack Obama in an election in which jobs and the economy are the big issues.