National Republicans surprised by Sununu’s snub

The Governor of New Hampshire. Chris sununuChris SununuSununu Says He Will Decide On The Senate Run ‘In The Next Week Or So’ New Hampshire Debates A Big And Controversial Shift In The Map Of The US House Of Representatives Biden And Progressives Lead Democrats To The nature MORE (R) surprised national Republicans on Tuesday by publicly rejecting pleas to challenge the senator. Maggie hassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanSununu Says She Will Decide On The Senate Run ‘In The Next Week Or So’ desert MORE (D) in next year’s midterm elections, a setback for the GOP’s chances of putting another potentially competitive race on the board at a time when Republicans feel the momentum behind them.

At a press conference in the state capital in Concord, announced just hours in advance, Sununu said he would run for a fourth two-year term as governor.

“My responsibility is not to the stalemate and Washington politics, it is to the citizens of New Hampshire,” Sununu told reporters. “I would be honored to spend a few more years doing what I love with the people I love.”

Sununu’s comments caught Republicans by surprise: He said he had not informed the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell McConnell: 2022 midterm election will be ‘very good pick for Republicans’ Senate Republican Party concerns of Trump could derail majority bid Trump hits Senate Republicans and McConnell over bill infrastructure law MORE (R-Ky.) Or the chairman of the Senate Republican National Committee Rick Scott (R-Fla.) From his decision, a fact confirmed by sources close to both leaders in Washington.

“As of this morning, I don’t think any high-level person knew with 100 percent certainty what he was doing,” a senior Washington Republican told The Hill. “It was a very well kept secret.”

Behind the scenes, Sununu’s advisers kept National Republicans at arm’s length. The governor asked national Republicans for space to consider his decision, multiple sources told The Hill.

The push to remove Sununu from the bench intensified in the past week, after Virginia voters chose Glenn youngkinGlenn YoungkinTrump Beats Up Christie After Former New Jersey Governor Calls On Republican Party To Exceed 2020 Election Claims Former Clinton Strategist: Virginia Results Show Democrats’ Left Too Much Left On Key Issues for educated suburban voters’ Murphy’s campaign calls on Ciattarelli to yield New Jersey’s Governor’s Election MORE (R) as the next Governor of the Commonwealth. Some Republicans said luring a top draft into a critical Senate race would have been a boost to the momentum the Republican Party already feels heading into the 2022 midterm elections.

Sununu had seen and spoken with Scott as recently as this weekend, when both men were in Las Vegas attending the annual meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition. He had traveled extensively in recent months, to official events in Kentucky and a political event in California, signs many interpreted that he was laying the groundwork for a national campaign.

“Everything he was doing seemed like he was preparing to run for Senate,” said one of the GOP’s top aides.

At the same time, the National Democrats launched a major campaign to dissuade Sununu from running. In recent weeks, Democrats had attacked Sununu for signing a budget bill that included provisions that would restrict access to abortion.

Sununu said those announcements did not influence her decision not to run.

“They have all spent millions of dollars against me. More than $ 10 million they spent in the last year and I’m not even running, “he said.

Sununu spoke with McConnell, Scott and several other senators about life in Washington while considering an offer in recent months. On Tuesday, he said several of those conversations with senators who had served as governor mentioned both Scott, a former Florida governor, and the senator. Mitt romneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt Romney: Senate Republican Party fears Trump may derail the offer for a majority of Republican senators to request military aid for Taiwan amid pressure from NASA China chief Bill Nelson, the latest official to suggest that UFOs have otherworldly origins MORE (R-Utah), who served as governor of Massachusetts, as well as former President George W. Bush, convinced him that a Senate career was not right for him.

“I have a pretty clear picture of what the next six years would be like,” Sununu said. “Sitting in meeting after meeting, waiting for the votes to happen, man, I like to do things.”

Their decision to skip the race and seek reelection, a year after winning a third term with 65 percent of the vote, likely ruins any Democratic chance of running for a governor’s job they had held for a dozen years. before Sununu won the job.

It will also focus on a new roster of candidates who could pose a major challenge to Hassan.

Sen. Hassan remains among the most vulnerable Democrats on the ballot next year. She’s not out of the woods yet, ”said Jeff Grappone, a Republican strategist from New Hampshire who worked for former Sen. John E. Sununu (RN.H.), the governor’s brother. “Hassan barely won in 2016 and there is still a chance that the Senate will pick him up for the Republican Party in New Hampshire.”

Republican strategists in New Hampshire and Washington said the former senator. Kelly ayotteKelly Ann Ayotte Poll: New Hampshire’s close race for Senate is likely Biden will turn to Robert Califf to return as head of FDA Poll: Possible showdown between Sununu and Hassan in NH is a draw MORE (R) is likely to receive another round of pleas to seek her old backing, although it is not clear that she is interested. Ayotte had been considering running for governor if Sununu ran for Senate.

“He is a tremendous person and the state would be very lucky to have someone like that running,” Sununu said when asked about his conversations with Ayotte, a longtime ally.

Democrats celebrated Sununu’s decision, even as they acknowledged that Hassan could not be calm for the next year.

Sen. Hassan won his last race by 1,017 votes, and we know that no matter who emerges as the Republican candidate, this will be a very close race, ”Aaron Jacobs, Hassan’s campaign manager, said in a statement. “Our campaign is ready for the challenge that lies ahead.”

A prominent Republican, retired Army Brigadier. General Don Bolduc (R), is already on the run. Bolduc, who has questioned the results of the 2020 presidential elections in an attempt to win the support of the former President TrumpDonald Trump Meat industry groups pledge to meet Paris Agreement emissions targets by 2030 Judge dismisses part of DC AG’s lawsuit against Trump’s inaugural committee Representative Gosar publishes anime video showing him hitting Biden, Ocasio-Cortez MORE, finished second in a Republican primary last year, with 42 percent of the vote.

Republicans can also turn to State Senate Speaker Chuck Morse (R) or Frank Edelblut, the commissioner of the state Department of Education and former state representative.

Sununu’s decision to stay out of the race has given those potential candidates new urgency, Grappone said, as Hassan continues to add to an already stocked campaign account.

“Whoever stands for the Republicans will have to act fast and rise fast,” Grappone said.

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