WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich's campaign said Tuesday it has started paying off $1.2 million in bills piled up before September.
The bills date back to the early days of the campaign when Gingrich showed his penchant for private jets and luxury hotels, spending $3 for every $2 raised, The Washington Post reported.
"We are beginning to pay off our debts and obligations that the campaign owed. That will be an ongoing process," campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond told the Post. "We have passed a threshold here. Our fundraising has been consistently good for a number of weeks."
The fundraising has been improving as the former House speaker's popularity with GOP voters has climbed in advance of the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. The campaign raised about $2.9 million through Sept. 30. Hammond said $4 million more was collected in the following six weeks.
"I think we'll have enough money," Gingrich said last week in Johnston, Iowa. "We'll never have as much money as (rival and former Massachusetts Gov.) Mitt Romney, but I think we'll have enough money. We'll have a sufficiency to be very, very competitive."
Gingrich has cut back on campaign spending markedly since June when his campaign staff resigned over that issue and others, the Post noted.
Among his creditors, Gingrich also owes $42,000 to himself for use of a mailing list.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll released Monday indicates Gingrich is the clear front-runner in Iowa, sporting a double-digit lead over his two main rivals.
Gingrich captured 33 percent support among likely caucus-goers in the poll released Monday, well ahead Romney and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who both had 18 percent, results of the poll indicates.
Gingrich polled well on electability, empathy and handling the economy.
More than six in 10 potential caucus-goers said they could change their minds, and among the likeliest attendees, fewer than half said they definitely have chosen a candidate, results indicated.
Gingrich's support in national polls has been climbing steadily and a win in Iowa likely would give him a boost heading into the first two primary states: New Hampshire, where he has been closing in on Romney, and South Carolina, the Post said.
Results are based on telephone interviews conducted Wednesday to Sunday with 858 potential Iowa Republican caucus-goers, including 356 most likely to participate. The margin of error is 4 percentage points for potential voters and 6 percentage points for likely voters.