Gingrich’s Secret Service detail likely costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars a day

A distant third in delegates behind the likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum — who dropped out of the race this month — Gingrich has virtually no chance of winning the GOP nomination. He has won just two primary contests, including Georgia, the state he represented in Congress for two decades.

Asked why Gingrich should still have a detail now that Romney is considered the presumptive nominee, Hammond, the campaign spokesman, said, “When the word ‘presumptive’ is removed from that sentence, we’ll deal with the issue.”

“We have a system here. We don’t let the pundits decide when the race is over. The candidates do. The delegates do. Pundits don’t rule. People do.”

Ronald Kessler, who wrote in his book “In the President’s Service” that the Secret Service is stretched dangerously thin, said each new protectee can take agents away from other agency priorities.

“Sometimes, if he’s traveling, they’ll assign agents in their field offices to the job so they’re already there,” Kessler told TheDC. “But, you know, that takes them off other duties such as investigating counterfeiting and financial crime.”

Romney started receiving Secret Service protection in early February. Santorum also had Secret Service protection before he dropped out of the race, as did former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain due to special threats against him. Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who is still officially in the GOP nomination battle, has rejected the possibility of getting protection, calling it a “form of welfare.”

Follow Jamie and follow Alex on Twitter