You’d figure that last night’s dismal performance would be the last act of the saga of Gingrich ’12. After choosing Delaware as his make-or-break state–one so small that even a campaign deep in debt and with no visible means of support could have a chance–Newt came across the finish line there a heart-breakingly close 29 points behind Mitt Romney, racking up well over seven thousand votes. In the other primaries held yesterday, he finished third behind Ron Paul.

Yet Gingrich didn’t drop out, and instead is spending time in North Carolina, where he’s lashing his campaign to the cause of Amendment One, the bid to make the Tar Heel State the unofficial intolerance capital of America. It’s as though he’s nostalgic for the salad days of his presidential run, when he was setting South Carolina on fire with his attacks of Barack Obama as the “food stamp president.”

Since his campaign earlier survived two or three near-death experiences, no one expected Gingrich to withdraw until the creditors were hammering on the door trying to repossess his microphone and Adam Smith ties. But it’s getting ridiculous now, particularly given the publicity around the reported $40,000 a day his Secret Service detail is costing taxpayers. He’s light-years away from having the five state delegations in his column that are necessary for his name to be placed in nomination at the Convention; Delaware was his last real shot. So if he won’t finally bury his candidacy, party leaders may soon be looking for a wooden stake.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.