Newt Gingrich: Mitt Romney ‘will probably’ win

at 05:29 PM ET, 03/30/2012

Newt Gingrich acknowledges the obvious, Rick Santorum criticizes JFK again, Scott Walker is ready for his recall fight and Jose Hernandez can call himself an astronaut.

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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, who has been promising to fight all the way to the GOP convention, told a Milwaukee radio station Friday that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney “is clearly the front-runner” and “will probably” lock up enough delegates to secure the nomination before Tampa. He added that he’s been talking to both his rivals regularly.

* Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, who faced blowback earlier this month for criticizing former president John F. Kennedy, defended his position in a 2,600 word essay on the website RealClearReligion Friday. He compared Kennedy to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the first president of Turkey and founder of the secular Turkish state.

* A political action committee run by Romney donated $10,000 to the National Organization for Marriage, an anti-gay marriage group that has come under fire for its strategy to “drive a wedge” between gays and African-Americans. The donation was given in 2008, when both NOM and the Mormon church were heavily involved in passing an anti-gay marriage ballot amendment in California.

* Gov. Scott Walker (R) said today, as the state’s recall election was certified, that he’s ready for the race. “My hope is just as we earned the trust of the majority of voters in 2010 that we’ll have a chance to earn that trust again this June,” he told reporters.

* Sen. Dick Lugar (R) will be allowed to vote in Indiana after all. The vulnerable incumbent has cut a deal with attorneys for his local election board to re-register by April 9. Lugar, who sold his home in the state in the 1970s, faces a tough primary from state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:

* The Wayne County Democratic Black Caucus has endorsed Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) in his member-vs-member primary with Rep. Hansen Clarke. That’s a pretty big coup, considering Peters is white and Clarke is black. Peters is also racking up union support and seems likely to win Michigan’s new majority-minority 14th district.

* A judge has ruled that California House candidate Jose Hernandez (D) can use the ballot designation “astronaut” when he runs againt Rep. Jeff Denham (R) this fall. A law firm had sued over the “astronaut” listing, because the candidate left NASA in 2009.

* West New York Mayor Felix Roque (D), who bucked his party to endorse state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R) for Senate in New Jersey, has now reversed course and thrown his weight behind Sen. Bob Menendez (D). “I’m a military man,” said the mayor. “My community wants Menendez, I will do what is in the best interest of my community.” Roque previously suggested that a federal investigation into alleged hacking by the mayor or his allies was political payback for the Kyrillos endorsement.

* Heidi Heitkamp (D) is out with her first ad in the North Dakota Senate race emphasizing her roots, growing up in a family of seven kids and working her way through college “on a road construction crew.” She will face Rep. Rick Berg (R) for the seat being vacated by Sen. Kent Conrad (D).

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