Two weeks down, 58 weeks to go.
New Hampshire’s budding 2024 gubernatorial contest has sparked several news cycles since Governor Chris Sununu confirmed he won’t seek reelection, but there’s still a long road to travel before voters decide which Republican and which Democrat will face off next fall.
The first GOP contender, former Senate president Chuck Morse, declared his candidacy mere minutes after Sununu’s announcement. The second, former US senator Kelly Ayotte, waited until the following week. A third closely watched potential GOP candidate, education commissioner Frank Edelblut, appears to be biding his time.
Two weeks ago, Edelblut signaled that he would announce “big news” within days. Since then, his tone has grown less urgent.
In a radio interview Thursday, he said he’s still evaluating his options and may not make a decision for another month or more.
“My youngest daughter is about to head off to college, and so I am enjoying spending some time with her,” Edelblut said on “Good Morning NH” with Jack Heath. “Probably sometime in early September, or in a September type of time frame, I kind of have to paint or get off the ladder and figure out what I’m going to do,” he added.
Edelblut narrowly lost the 2016 gubernatorial primary to Sununu, who appointed him as education commissioner in 2017. He’s been an advocate for expanding school choice programs, including the state’s education freedom accounts. Edelblut, Morse, and Ayotte have all expressed support for making school choice policies “universal.”
Ayotte has been enjoying widespread attention from Concord to Boston, thanks in large part to the anti-Massachusetts framing of her opening message, which she’s been reciting wherever she goes. At her campaign kickoff Monday in Manchester, she rehashed that message and boasted about “liberal politicians and press” being “pretty offended” by her rhetoric.
“I’m never going to apologize for telling the truth about our great state and how awesome we are,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Democrats — who have their own contested primary, between Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington and Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig — have been working hard to push abortion policy to the center of the conversation.
“Just as it was across the country last year, abortion access will be the galvanizing issue in the 2024 election,” New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley said during a press conference this week.
Buckley and others criticized Ayotte’s track record on the topic, including her work as New Hampshire attorney general, her support for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and her vote as US senator in favor of a federal bill to prohibit abortion nationwide at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions.
Ayotte’s campaign website doesn’t mention abortion. She has said she supports New Hampshire’s current law, which prohibits abortion at or after 24 weeks, with exceptions.
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