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Gingrich adds $3 million in debt

WASHINGTON -- Newt Gingrich, whose quixotic presidential bid has been dogged by financial problems, racked up nearly $3 million in new debt for private jet flights, security consultants and travel costs in March even as his campaign teetered on the edge of collapse, according to new disclosures.

The former House speaker entered April with $4.3 million in total debt, up from $1.5 million in March, according to reports filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission. He raised $1.6 million, spent $2 million and reported having $1.2 million cash on hand.

The campaign's top debts for March include $1.1 million to Moby Dick Airways, a private air charter broker, and $450,000 to Patriot Group, a Virginia security firm.

Gingrich is listed as being owed $271,775 for travel costs, and numerous other employees and consultants claim similar travel debts, the records show.

The disclosures outline what has become a typical scenario for Gingrich in his year-long campaign for the White House, which nearly imploded last summer amid runaway spending and staff defections.

He rose in the polls and began to claw his way out of debt during a series of strong performances during Republican candidates' debates last fall, but his prospects have plummeted since his surprise January win in the South Carolina primary.

The main thing keeping Gingrich alive for the primary season was Winning Our Future, a super PAC that was funded almost exclusively by Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his relatives. Adelson's wife, Miriam, gave the group an additional $5 million in March, bringing the Adelson family total to $21 million.

He has refused to leave the race despite no reasonable prospect of defeating Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee, while continuing to solicit money and support as he campaigns across the country, including Buffalo where raised $30,000 at a fundraiser Friday.