The lawyer for Newt Gingrich, issued a cease and desist order against a group attempting to draft him for the senate seat of Mark Warner in Virginia for 2014. The cease and desist order was served on a new group, Draft Newt PAC, and ordered them to quit using Newt's image in their ads, which is trying to solicit money for their effort.
The group was founded by Andrew Hemingway, the New Hampshire state director. Hemingway was also the national digital fundraising director for Gingrich's 2012 presidential campaign. Gingrich is urging that people ignore their solicitation for money and signatures.
Stefan Passantino, who issued the letter, told CNN, "People could have thought that either the speaker or his campaign was in any way behind it."
Passantino said that if people were interested in Newt's views, they could contribute to help him pay off the debt his 2012 campaign for president amassed and could watch him on Crossfire every night at 6:30 on CNN.
Dan Backer, the PAC's treasurer and legal counsel, responded to the order, saying the group had "made clear all along Newt is in no way part of our effort to draft him." He did not explain why his groups wants to continue, when Gingrich is taking such harsh steps to shut them down and is denying any interest in running for office again.
Backer claims that as a public figure, using Gingrich's likeness is perfectly legal and that millions of conservatives would love to see him back in office. The group has collected over 10,000 signatures and Backer said:
"We believe Newt Gingrich should run for Senate in Virginia in 2014, and that he would win, and we hope he will ultimately heed that call. If a million Americans signed our petition to draft Newt, would he say no? If 100,000 Virginians called on him to represent us, would he say no? Or, would he at least think about it?”
Gingrich may have had to issue assurances to CNN that he would not run for political office as part of his contract with CNN for Crossfire. If the ratings are poor, CNN could then use the possibility of Newt running in Virginia to cancel his contract.
Gingrich had previously turned down the chance to run for the senate in Georgia, to replace retiring Saxby Chambliss.