TULARE -- Newt Gingrich is struggling to regain his political footing in the battle to capture the Republican presidential nomination, but none of that was evident Tuesday during a visit to the World Ag Expo.
The former House speaker from Georgia was treated like political royalty by hordes of people attending the event. They broke from their routine to shake his hand, seek his autograph or pose for a picture.
Gingrich, in return, was gracious and patient as people crowded around him as he toured some of the exhibits.
"I like him," said Adam Smith, a Missouri resident who is manning an exhibit on nutrients. "He's always been my choice."
Soon after he crossed Gingrich's path and offered him a welcome, Smith was on his cell phone telling someone about the encounter.
Gingrich's stop at the World Ag Expo was his first of two in the central San Joaquin Valley. Following his hour-long tour of the World Ag Expo, Gingrich headed to Fresno for a fundraiser at the home of Ryan and Wendy Turner. Wendy Turner is the daughter of Fresno Republican and former Secretary of State Bill Jones.
Gingrich arrived at the Ag Expo around 2:30 p.m. and he and his small entourage -- which included security and handlers -- quickly boarded a long, covered trailer that was pulled by a tractor.
Along the way, Gingrich waved to well-wishers and reached out to shake a few hands.
He then disembarked and entered one of the exhibit buildings, where he came across Smith, the Missouri resident.
Tulare farmer Mark Watte -- a former chairman of the World Ag Expo -- was Gingrich's tour guide, leading him to different exhibits.