Former House speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich (R) threw his support Tuesday behind Rep. Jack Kingston in the Republican runoff for U.S. Senate in Georgia.

"I counted on Jack Kingston to help me implement the Contract with America, enact welfare reform, and balance the budget for the first time in a generation," Gingrich said in a statement.  "I can say from first hand experience that he is a tireless reformer dedicated to advancing our conservative values."

Gingrich represented a Georgia district in the U.S. House from 1979-1999. He sought the Republican nomination for president in 2012.

Kingston is competing with businessman David Perdue for the Republican nomination. The two will meet in a July 22 runoff, since neither won a majority of the vote in the May 20 primary. The winner will face Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn.