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A Who’s Who of Sununus

Republican candidate for governor Chris Sununu spoke to supporters early in the morning Wednesday. Jim Cole/AP

Chris Sununu was elected governor of New Hampshire on Tuesday. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s not the first New Hampshire Sununu to play a big role in state politics — not by a long shot. Having trouble keeping them straight? Here’s a primer on who’s who:

Chris Sununu: The state’s Republican governor-elect has been a member of the New Hampshire Executive Council since 2011 and is also the CEO of the Waterville Valley Ski Resort. He’ll be the state’s first Republican governor in a dozen years and — at age 42 — the nation’s youngest. (The current youngest governor is Nikki Haley of South Carolina, who is 44.)


John H. Sununu: The senior Sununu — Chris’s father — was a three-term governor of New Hampshire in the 1980s. He was President George H.W. Bush’s chief of staff and, later, head of the state Republican Party. For a stretch in the 1990s he was cohost of CNN’s nightly “Crossfire” program. He made waves just last week with a crude joke about Hillary and Bill Clinton at a rally for Donald Trump in New Hampshire.

John E. Sununu: Chris’s brother was a member of Congress and a US senator. He beat former Republican senator Bob Smith in a dramatic 2002 GOP primary and Democratic Governor Jeanne Shaheen in that year’s general election race for the Senate. Six years later, Shaheen defeated Sununu. (And six years after that, Shaheen defeated Republican Scott Brown, the former Massachusetts senator.)

Nancy Sununu: Chris’s mother, who served as chairwoman of the state Republican Party and chairwoman of the Salem, N.H., school board.

Michael Sununu: Brother to Chris and John E. – is a selectman in the small town of Newfields, a seat he won in March.

And that’s not even all the Sununus. Chris, Michael, and John E. are among eight siblings.


Felice Belman can be reached at