Sources close to the Gingrich campaign say preliminary “what-if” conversations are underway that could lead to a Gingrich-Perry ticket being announced prior to the Republican National Convention at the end of August.

Gingrich insiders hope forming a predetermined ticket with Perry will unite the evangelical, Tea Party and very conservative voters that make up the core of the GOP.

As discussions got underway, a spokesman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry released a statement saying, “Gov. Perry thinks Newt Gingrich is the strongest conservative to debate and defeat President Obama and truly overhaul Washington. The speculation is humbling but premature.”

Floating Perry as a runningmate two days before Alabama and Mississippi could energize conservatives or turn them off.

A senior aide to Rick Santorum called it a desperate hail mary to create buzz ahead of contests in Alabama and Mississippi Tuesday.

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