Newt Gingrich's long-foundering presidential run is finally over, but the former House speaker's efforts to pay off his campaign debt are likely just beginning.
The Gingrich campaign, as of the last reporting period, owes $4.3 million to creditors, including pollsters, staffers, consultants, lawyers and event venues.
The campaign owes Moby Dick Airways, an air charter company, more than $1 million. Another $450,000 is owed to a security firm called Patriot Group. Tech darling Twitter is on the list for $12,700.
The total amount owed may already be dropping. Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond told CNNMoney on Thursday that the campaign paid off around $500,000 in April, payments that won't show up until the next monthly Federal Election Commission filing.
It is common for campaigns to go into debt, but Gingrich has dug quite the hole. After all, his campaign raised just over $22 million while he was a candidate. Raising money now will be even harder. It is possible that some creditors won't be paid for years.
But there are plenty of ways to pay down the debt. As of March 31, the campaign had $1.2 million in cash on hand. Some of that might be paid to creditors. Mitt Romney, the party's presumptive nominee, might be persuaded to help Gingrich retire the debt, as President Obama helped Hillary Clinton do in 2008.
The campaign might also rent out its voter mailing lists to other candidates in exchange for a fee, a strategy that candidates have used in the past, including Clinton, who also auctioned time with her husband in order to retire campaign debt.
But the debt is likely to linger. According to its latest filing, the Clinton campaign is still in debt almost four years after closing up shop. At the end of March, the campaign owed research and consulting firm Penn, Schoen & Berland some $245,000.
Gingrich isn't the only 2012 candidate with bills to pay. Rick Santorum is almost $2 million in debt, but has $1.8 million in cash available. And Jon Huntsman has creditors, but around $4 million of his $5.5 million debt are loans from the candidate himself to the campaign.
Tim Pawlently, one of the first Republican contenders to drop out, has already paid off his debt. But he is lucky. It's more common for campaign debt to endure for years. Rudy Giuliani, the 2008 hopeful, still owes creditors $1.5 million, including $236,000 to Verizon Wireless and $107,000 to AT&T.
President Obama defended his energy policy on Thursday, and at the same time called out Republicans for promising lower gas prices while allegedly ignoring alternative sources of energy.
Without mentioning any of the candidates by name, Obama went so far as to suggest that the Republicans seeking the presidency are the kind of people who might deny that Earth is a sphere.
"A lot of the folks who are running for a MORECharles Riley - Mar 15, 2012 1:57 PM ET
I got an e-mail from one of my local liquor stores (is it a problem if I am on the list for more than one wine shop in my neighborhood?) alerting me to the fact that one of my favorite makers of brown liquor, Heaven Hill Distilleries, is now selling election-themed straight bourbon whiskey. (Yes, with an E. This is America! Although they make Whiskey in Ireland too. But I MOREPaul R. La Monica - Mar 9, 2012 4:13 PM ET
Every single 2012 candidate wants to change the U.S. tax code.
Some of the changes would be quite drastic (I'm looking at you, Ron Paul.)
Other candidates propose far more modest changes. In general, every Republican candidate wants to lower taxes. President Obama's biggest modifications would result in the rich paying more.
CNNMoney has covered the proposals from Obama, Paul, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in some detail.
But now our friends MORECharles Riley - Mar 5, 2012 12:07 PM ET
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