Newt Gingrich did not hire someone to lead his Minnesota campaign until about a week before Tuesday’s caucus vote and set foot in the state for only a couple of hours Monday.

Gingrich is looking past the three states voting Tuesday in the race for the Republican presidential nomination — he plans to spend the day campaigning in Ohio, which votes next month. But of the three, Minnesota presents the best opportunity for him to pick up several convention delegates.

Still, the state’s frozen lakes are far from his Southern base, and Gingrich’s shoestring campaign here mimics his ad hoc approach to many of the states voting in February, where Gingrich is girding for a series of losses as his lone win in South Carolina recedes further into memory.

Front-runner Mitt Romney is widely expected to romp in the Colorado caucuses — he has a victory rally scheduled Tuesday night in Denver — and Gingrich is not on the ballot in Missouri’s “beauty contest” primary, which is not binding on the state’s delegates.

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