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Newt Gingrich represented Georgia in Congress for 20 years. He announced the beginnings of his 2012 presidential campaign in Atlanta. And in the run-up to Georgia’s little-noted Republican presidential straw poll this weekend, his campaign was boasting about the many state GOP officials backing his candidacy. “I think the campaign here in Georgia is really starting to come together in a powerful way,” Gingrich told a local NBC station. So powerful that Gingrich finished in … fourth place. The winner was Herman Cain, a Georgia native. (Newt was born in Pennsylvania.) Then came Ron Paul and Rick Perry. Then Newt, at 18 percent.

Gingrich has argued lately that he’s mounting a quiet comeback in the 2012 GOP race. A fourth-place finish among some of the Republicans who know him best tends to suggest otherwise.

Why does Gingrich stay in the race? Who knows. But in surely unrelated news, the latest product from the Gingrich Productions assembly line–Sweet Land of Liberty, an illustrated book about the adventures of “Ellis the Elephant” and the ideal of American exceptionalism–will be published on September 26.