June 17, 2024

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu that he will not seek re-election

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election to a fifth term in 2024, a surprise move for the popular Republican that gives Democrats hope to regain the battleground state elected office during a presidential election year.

Sununu, who took office the same year Donald Trump entered the White House, said in an interview that the nation’s toxic political climate had no bearing on his decision. But he focused on Trump’s influence in the GOP and vowed to use his political capital to help Trump’s Republican rivals in the state’s first presidential primary in the coming weeks and months.

“They call it ‘public service,’ not ‘public career,'” said Sununu, who also noted that he has not been running for the president and the US Senate in recent months. Turning to the 2024 presidential primary, he said, “I’m going to be an aggressive advocate for everybody else (except Trump) and an advocate for the Republican Party. Donald Trump does not represent the Republican Party. He may be our nominee, but he does not represent the future. It’s yesterday’s news.”

Although Sununu, 48, intends to play an outsized role in state and national politics through the 2024 election, his decision gives Democrats reason to be optimistic about winning the governorship for Sununu’s first term in office in 2017.

“Before Sununu, the Democrats had a lock on the governor’s office for a dozen years. Sununu changed all that,” said University of New Hampshire political science professor Dante Scala. “He would have been the favorite if he had decided to run for a fifth term. For the first time since 2016, we are more likely to see a competitive race for governor. The Democrats will have the upper hand in a while.”

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu participates in a panel discussion during the 2022 Republican Governors Association convention in Orlando, Florida. Sununu, who said he will not seek re-election for a fifth term in 2024, said in an interview that the nation’s toxic political climate had no bearing on his decision.

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Already, several high-profile Republicans have expressed interest in ousting Sununu.

Chuck Morse, former Republican president of Senate of New Hampshire and former US Senate candidate, announced his campaign for governor shortly after Sununu announced his decision in an email to supporters. Morse said in a statement that he is proud to work with Sununu “to build a conservative, pro-jobs, pro-growth, pro-family economic agenda that has made New Hampshire the envy of New England and the nation.”

Former US Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte may also be joining the field of candidates. She said “the battle to make sure New Hampshire keeps our Live Free or Die spirit must continue” and praised the announcement of “some big news in the next few days.”

At least two Democrats, Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington and Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, have already launched bids for governor.

Democrats have struggled to identify a high-level candidate for governor since former Governor Maggie Hassan left office to join the US Senate. But they have a definite advantage in 2024 — at least on paper.

New Hampshire is still considered a swing state, but no Republican presidential contender has carried the state since George Bush in 2000. Trump, who is seeking the GOP nomination for a third term and is leading early primary polls in the state, lost New Hampshire by 7 points in the 2020 general election.

A popular governor who made the rounds on national talk shows this year, Sununu announced in June that he would not seek the presidency in 2024. He argued that Republican candidates must have the courage to “no path to victory” from their party’s increasingly crowded primaries to prevent Trump from being re-elected.

He told the Associated Press on Wednesday that Trump has “no chance” of winning the presidency in 2024. “He’s going to take everybody else down with him like he has year after year,” he said.

Sununu said he plans to campaign with several Trump rivals in the coming weeks, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and former Texas US Representative Will Hurd.

National Democrats applauded the news.

Democratic Governors Association Executive Director Meghan Meehan-Draper predicted “a nasty, big and expensive Republican primary for governor” that will feature some supporters of the so-called ‘Make America Great Again’ movement.”

“Not only have the voters of the Granite State consistently rejected that kind of division and chaos, but after four terms of Sununu’s failures on worsening problems — like the housing crisis, attacks on public education and harmful abortion restrictions — they know it’s time for a change,” she said.

Sununu has previously angered Washington Republicans by making a decision against a motion by the US Senate in 2021. They hoped he could defeat Hassan, the Democratic incumbent, and help them retake the chamber in the 2022 midterms.

Instead, Sununu won re-election by more than 15 points last year, and said he could have a bigger and more direct impact as governor than as senator. In a nod to the slow pace of politics in Washington, he said he did not want to spend the next six years “sitting around in meeting after meeting, waiting for maybe votes.”

Sununu, whose father was governor from 1983 to 1989 and later chief executive in the White House under President George HW Bush, became the youngest chief executive in the country when he took office in 2017 at the age of 42. During his tenure, the easy-going politician known for his country methods was praised for his pro-business policies, efforts to fight inflation and his leadership during the pandemic.

The Chairman of the Republican Governors Association and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds released a statement praising Sununu after his announcement, saying he had never supported a challenge.

“He made it a priority to deliver balanced budgets, lower taxes, improve education, and address substance use disorders for the citizens of New Hampshire,” she said. “And, thanks to Governor Sununu’s leadership, New Hampshire is now number one in the nation when it comes to personal freedom.”

People from Hudson, NH reported

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *