Gingrich considers self among top 2012 prospects

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CARY, N.C. (AP) — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Wednesday he considers himself among the top Republican prospects for the 2012 presidential election, adding that he believes there will be plenty of GOP options for voters to consider.

“I think I’m probably on a list of seven or eight possible candidates at this stage,” Gingrich said. “We have a lot of people around the country who would like to have somebody who represents a commitment to replace the current failed programs and to develop a set of solutions that are practical and workable.”

Gingrich listed several current and former goverors who he thinks might enter the race. They include former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. He said he will discuss his possible candidacy with his wife early next year before making a decision about whether to run.

Gingrich also suggested that governors Mitch Daniels from Indiana, Haley Barbour from Mississippi, Rick Perry from Texas and Bobby Jindal from Louisiana, as well as South Dakota Sen. John Thune could run.

The former lawmaker from Georgia talked to reporters before speaking to hundreds of conservatives in North Carolina, a state that went to the Democrats in 2008 for the first time in three decades. Gingrich said the political environment is favoring Republicans and that the party could regain a lot of power in this year’s mid-term election.

A key conductor of the GOP’s takeover of the U.S. House in 1994, Gingrich encouraged his party to revisit the “Contract for America” brainstorm that helped swing the election that year.