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After toying for months with a potential White House bid, Governor Chris Sununu announced Monday that he won’t seek the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination. But will he seek reelection to his current job?
So far, Sununu hasn’t said. He explained in his Washington Post op-ed that he’d lean on his status as governor of the first-in-the-nation primary state to help the Republican Party resist former president Donald Trump’s siren song in 2024. But he didn’t specify his aspirations for 2025 and beyond. Nor did he in his interviews with CNN and WMUR.
A spokesperson, Ben Vihstadt, told the Globe that Sununu hasn’t decided whether to seek a fifth two-year term as governor.
Meanwhile, former New Hampshire Senate President Chuck Morse, a Republican who has said he will run for governor if Sununu doesn’t, is staying the course.
Dave Carney, an adviser to Morse, said Monday that Morse will continue laying the groundwork for a gubernatorial campaign until Sununu “makes his intentions known.” That way, Morse will be prepared for any circumstance, Carney said.
The other potential Republican candidates include former US senator Kelly Ayotte and current education commissioner Frank Edelblut.
Democratic gubernatorial candidates have lost to Sununu four times in a row, recently by double-digit margins. That track record leads some Democrats to believe their best shot to reclaim the chief executive job won’t come until Sununu, 48, decides he’s done seeking reelection.
Even so, the Democrat who has formally announced her 2024 gubernatorial candidacy, Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, shrugged off news that Sununu won’t seek the presidency.
“Like I said last week, I don’t care if Chris Sununu is running for Governor or President. I’m running for Governor to make New Hampshire a place where everyone is free to thrive,” Warmington said.
Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, who could challenge Warmington for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, knocked Sununu for his plans to stay active in the Republican primary as a non-candidate.
“New Hampshire families deserve a Governor who is here and focused on the issues that matter most to our communities from defending reproductive rights to increasing housing, to creating good-paying jobs,” Craig tweeted. “It’s that simple.”
New Hampshire House Majority Leader Jason Osborne, who has endorsed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for president, said Republicans in New Hampshire will need Sununu on the ballot again in 2024 if there’s not a strong presidential candidate atop the ticket. But if someone like DeSantis gets the GOP nomination and if Sununu wishes to move on, then that could be “an opportune time” to elect a new governor, he said.
Sununu’s op-ed noted that he plans to make an endorsement, though whether DeSantis fits the bill remains to be seen. For more news and analysis on the GOP presidential primary, check out my colleagues’ work:
- James Pindell: Why Chris Sununu decided not to run for president
- Jess Bidgood: Republicans confront latest obstacle to defeating Trump: a crowded field
- Boston Globe Today 📺: Eleven’s a crowd: More Republicans to join Primary
By the way, the first Republican presidential debate has been scheduled for Aug. 23.
The Big Picture