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Republican Chris Sununu to run for N.H. governor

Chris Sununu, the son of a governor and brother of a former US senator, announced Monday that he will run for New Hampshire governor next year as a Republican.

Sununu, 40, is serving in his third term as an executive councilor, a role in which he represents one-fifth of the state.

Speaking at the Salem Republican Committee Labor Day picnic, Sununu, of Newfields, described himself as a problem solver.

“I’m running for governor, because we need to close the opportunity gap that Democratic governors have slid us into over the past two decades,” he said. “We must end the expansive policies of government that are stifling economic growth in our state.


“As governor, I will work to reestablish an economic climate that will provide dependable, high-paying jobs, and develop progrowth initiatives to stop the loss of skilled workers and young people to other states,” Sununu added.

His opponent next year remains an open question. Incumbent Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan has been weighing a decision on whether to seek reelection or run for US Senate next year to challenge Republican Kelly Ayotte.

Sununu could face a Republican primary against state Representative Frank Edelblut of Wilton, who announced an exploratory committee this summer and funded it with $500,000 of his own money.

Democrats have won nine of the last 10 elections for New Hampshire governor and have held the office for 10 years.

Sununu will face the challenge that in recent decades Democrats tend to do better in presidential election years.

His father, John H. Sununu, served as a three-term governor before becoming chief of staff under President George H.W. Bush. His brother, John E. Sununu, served in the US House and a term in the US Senate.

Politically, Chris Sununu is more moderate on social issues than his father and brother. He has been hands-off when it came to the state’s gay marriage law and is prochoice.


That said, Sununu cast a controversial vote this summer to decline funding for Planned Parenthood. Previously, he was the swing vote to vote in favor of funding the group.

James Pindell can be reached at james.pindell@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell, or click here to subscribe to his daily e-mail update on the 2016 campaign.