Newton Leroy "Newt" Gingrich ( /ˈnuːt ˈɡɪŋɡrɪtʃ/; born Newton Leroy McPherson; June 17, 1943) is a U.S. Republican Party politician who served as the House Minority Whip from 1989 to 1995 and then as the 58th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999.
On January 21, 1997, the House of Representatives voted for the first time in its 208-year history to discipline a House Speaker. In a 395-28 vote, the House ordered Gingrich to pay an unprecedented $300,000 penalty for ethical wrongdoing.
Gingrich had represented Georgia's 6th congressional district from January 3, 1979 until January 3, 1999 when he resigned as speaker and as a member of Congress. Gingrich did not serve the 11th term to which he had been elected in November 1998.
An author and historian, Gingrich twice ran unsuccessfully for the House in the 1970s during the eight years he was teaching history in college. On his third try, he won a seat in the election of November 1978 and was re-elected ten times. Gingrich resigned from the House on Nov. 5, 1998, three days after being elected to the 11th term. His resignation came on the heels of an election in which the Republican Party lost five congressional seats and after Rep. Bob Livingston (R-Louisiana) mounted a campaign to depose Gingrich as party leader. Gingrich had "been a lightning rod for controversy ever since he steered his party to the majority in 1994 and took control of the speakers gavel."
A co-author and architect of Contract with America, Gingrich was in the forefront of Republican Party success in the 1994 Congressional election. In 1995, Time magazine named him "Man of the Year" for his role in ending 40 years of majority rule by the Democratic Party. During his four years as House speaker, Gingrich sometimes opposed President Bill Clinton but he also worked closely with Clinton, in 1996, to limit public welfare, and, in 1997, to pass a capital gains tax cut and, in 1998, to pass the first balanced budget since 1969.
In the 13 years after resigning from the House, Gingrich became a highly paid political consultant. He has written twenty-three books including historical fiction. He is the founder and/or chair of American Solutions for Winning the Future, Center for Health Transformation, Gingrich Productions and Renewing American Leadership.
In May 2011, Gingrich announced his intent to seek the Republican nomination to run for the U.S. presidency.