WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has taken considerable heat from conservative activists for endorsing Republican Dede Scozzafava over Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in next month's special congressional election in New York.
But Gingrich is defending his approach to re-building the Republican Party. It begins, he said, by accommodating those who might disagree with you.
"Both parties have to recognize, you can create a center-right majority in America, which we did with Reagan in '80 and we did it again with the 'Contract with America' in '94," Gingrich said in an interview with CNN Radio. "You can't have a purely right-wing majority; you can't have a purely left-wing majority."
The former speaker claimed that Democrats are doing their part to help the GOP by promoting a liberal ideology. "Today, the Democrats are moving toward a secular-socialist model that is guaranteed minority in America," he said.
And he was cautiously optimistic about the 2010 midterm elections.
"Next year, I think we could win [governorships in] Iowa, Kansas, Wisconsin, the Senate seat in Illinois. In Ohio, we could win both the governorship and the Senate seat," Gingrich said. He also predicted losses for three prominent Democratic incumbents: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.
Along with the New York special election, Republicans are also watching two key gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey. Gingrich predicated the GOP will win in Virginia "by a big margin," but was less optimistic about the party's chances in the Garden State.
"I think we have a good chance to win New Jersey, if people conclude that voting for the third-party candidate just re-elects [incumbent Gov. Jon] Corzine," he said.