Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, waits to take a photograph with a supporter after speaking at Delmarva Christian High School in Georgetown, Del., Wednesday, April 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich told Republicans at a New York state party dinner that he would work for Mitt Romney's victory in the general election if Romney wins the nomination.
"We are dedicated to a unified Republican Party," he said.
Speaking Thursday in New York City, Gingrich said he's stayed in the race "to articulate big themes and big ideas'' but that ``we have a moral obligation to defeat Barack Obama."
To that end, he said, he would work to support Romney, and he said Romney would do the same for him. "Romney and I have discussed this," he said.
In his remarks to the state party, Gingrich called for "bold" positions and reiterated his call for energy independence by opening up off-shore areas and federal lands to drilling.
The New York state Republican presidential primary is next week. Gingrich acknowledged he was the underdog in the race. Romney is vastly far ahead in the delegate count.
With 95 delegates, New York is one of five East Coast states holding primaries Tuesday.
On Friday, Gingrich will appear at a downtown Buffalo rally with developer Carl Paladino, a former candidate for New York governor. It was not clear if Romney is making any New York appearances.
The contest is shaping up differently than New York's last presidential primary in 2008, when Hillary Rodham Clinton beat back a strong challenge from Barack Obama and Romney lost to John McCain.