Newton Leroy "Newt" Gingrich ( /ˈnuːt ˈɡɪŋɡrɪtʃ/; born Newton Leroy McPherson; June 17, 1943) is an American politician, author, and political consultant, who served as the 58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. He represented Georgia's 6th congressional district as a Republican from 1979 until his resignation in 1999. He is a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination.
Born in south central Pennsylvania, Gingrich was adopted in infancy by his stepfather, a career soldier. Gingrich received his undergraduate degree from Emory University and then earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Tulane University. In the 1970s he taught history and geography at West Georgia College. During this period he ran several times for the United States House of Representatives before winning in November 1978. He served as House Minority Whip from 1989 to 1995.
A co-author and architect of the "Contract with America", Gingrich was at the forefront of Republican Party success in the 1994 congressional election. In 1995, Time named him "Man of the Year" for his role in ending 40 years of majority control by the Democratic Party. While he was House speaker, the House enacted welfare reform, passed a capital gains tax cut in 1997, and in 1998 passed the first balanced budget since 1969. As House speaker, his popularity within Congress gradually diminished as he was increasingly seen as a lightning rod for controversy. He was reprimanded in January 1997 by the House of Representatives for making inaccurate statements to a fourteen-month House investigation of his alleged misuse of tax-exempt donations. A poor showing by Republican candidates in the 1998 Congressional election and pressure from his Republican colleagues lead Gingrich, on November 5, 1998, to announce his resignation from the speakership and from the House, effective January 3, 1999.
Since leaving the House, Gingrich has remained active in public policy debates and worked as a political consultant. He founded and chaired several policy think tanks, including American Solutions for Winning the Future and the Center for Health Transformation. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has written or co-authored 27 books. In May 2011, he announced his campaign to become the Republican nomination to run for the U.S. presidency.
Gingrich converted to Roman Catholicism, the faith his wife, in 2009. He was raised Lutheran and spent most of his adult life as a Southern Baptist. His first two marriages ended in divorce. He has two children from his first marriage, and he has been married to Callista (Bisek) Gingrich since 2000.