November 5th, 2013
12:23 PM ET

Newt Gingrich: Christie 'One Of The Top Contenders' In 2016

Former House Speaker and CNN host Newt Gingrich says he sees New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as a major candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

Gingrich was on CNN's "New Day" Tuesday morning talking about the prospects and implications of the day's elections that include governors races in New Jersey and Virginia.

In New Jersey, the "Crossfire" host expected what polls have said for months, a landslide victory for Christie against his Democratic challenger, little known state Sen. Barbara Buono.

"He'll probably set the record for at least the last 30 years," Gingrich said of Christie. "The question will be how many Republicans does he bring into the legislature, which will be a big way of measuring his impact institutionally," he told CNN's Chris Cuomo.

In 2016, Gingrich said he expects Christie to be one of the top four or five contenders for the Republican nomination, alongside Govs. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, John Kasich of Ohio and Rick Perry of Texas.

"I think governors will play a big role in '16," said Gingrich, who served 11 terms in the House of Representatives. Gingrich did not mention any of the legislators thought to be candidates for the 2016 nomination like Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Marco Rubio of Florida.

The Virginia race has been in part a matter of messaging, Gingrich said Tuesday, with businessman and former Democratic National Committee chair Terry McAuliffe leading in the polls largely because he managed to paint his opponent in a negative light early on. Republican Ken Cuccinelli, the state Attorney General, is a tea party favorite whose conservative views have become fodder for McAuliffe in the increasingly purple state.

"The guy who gets defined as an extremist is going to be on defense all the time," Gingrich said.

The messaging and idea of pervasive negativity served as a segue for Gingrich to talk about his new book, "Breakout." According to Gingrich, the book looks at some of the major technological advances and bold ideas in the United States amid what is in large part a complete inability for the political elite to move forward with ideas just as bold.

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