Stephen Reader covers politics for It's a Free Country, WNYC's interactive politics site. He joined the station in 2010 and has also worked for Studio 360, WNYC's Peabody Award-winning show about art, culture, and creativity.
This morning, a spokesperson for Newt Gingrich announced that the former House Speaker would launch his 2012 presidential bid on Wednesday via Facebook and Twitter. Gingrich will be the first Republican hopeful polling in double digits to formally enter the race.
Beginning his political career in Georgia, Gingrich spent two decades in the House of Representatives and spent four years as the Speaker after leading a Republican takeover in the 1994 midterm elections. He was a key figure in the government shutdown of 1995 and 1996, as his Congress could not find common ground with President Clinton over the budget. Subsequently, Gingrich was among those leading the charge to impeach Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice.
Since leaving office, Gingrich has remained high profile as a political commentator and a paid Fox News contributor, a role he will need to abandon due to campaign finance laws now that his run is official.
Gingrich announced an exploratory committee on March 3rd during a speech in Atlanta, Georgia. On Wednesday, he will announce his decision to run on Facebook and Twitter before appearing in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity. On Friday, Gingrich will make his "first announcement speech" at the Georgia Republican Party convention.