Sununu setback leaves GOP struggling in New Hampshire

The Governor of New Hampshire. Chris sununuChris SununuSunday Shows Preview: Boosters Open To All US Adults House Democrats Pass Spending Plan To Senate New Hampshire Governor Sununu Condemns Tweet Offering 0 ‘Rewards’ To Biden Teachers Focuses on US Competitiveness To Advance Infrastructure Bill T PLUS (R) dashed Republicans’ hopes of landing a gold standard Senate candidate last week when he announced that he would run for reelection next year instead of challenging the senator. Maggie hassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanBooker Leading Democratic Fundraiser in New Hampshire Biden, Senior Officials Dispersed to Promote Hillicon Valley Infrastructure Package – Immigrants in Surveillance Programs MORE (D), sparking a fight to find a top-tier alternate recruit.

Republicans insist that the 2022 New Hampshire Senate race remains an excellent chance for recovery given the historic headwinds facing Democrats and President BidenJoe BidenRisch, dismayed by Republican senators’ blocking of Biden’s diplomatic elections, on Sunday shows a trailer: Boosters open to all American adults; House Democrats pass spending plan to Senate White House calls for investigation into sexual assault allegations of missing Chinese tennis star MOREApproval ratings plummet. But those expectations have not been manifested in a candidate in which the party could unite from Sununu and the former senator. Kelly ayotteKelly Ann Ayotte The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – The Republican Party struck a blow in 2022, looks at the troubles of the Trump era Sununu’s departure underscores the GOP’s uncertain path to winning a Senate majority The announcement of Sununu Gives Democrats One MORE Lifeline he retired more than a week ago, hampering the efforts of the Republican Party in a state that could shift control of the Senate 50-50.

“Because Chris Sununu waited so long and decided not to run, Republicans have to fight to figure out who is the next best candidate to present the best challenge to Senator Hassan,” said New Hampshire Republican strategist Mike Dennehy. “I don’t think anyone can say otherwise, including Chris Sununu, because that’s just a fact.”

Hassan’s seat, along with Senate races in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada, is seen as one of Republicans’ top offensive opportunities heading into the 2022 cycle in which the Republican Party must win just one seat to change the camera.

Republican optimism was high about the prospects of ousting Hassan, a former governor and senator in the first term, amid a declining economy, frustrations over the coronavirus pandemic, and a bloody withdrawal from Afghanistan, all of which produced a slump in stung on Biden’s favorability ratings.

A statewide poll by the University of New Hampshire’s Granite State released last month showed Hassan is statistically tied with Sununu and Ayotte, but revealed that only 33 percent of Granite State voters view Hassan favorably, while 51 percent percent view it unfavorably. She also has a slight lead in the poll over former General Don Bolduc, who is among the best-known primary contenders already in the race, but still widely unknown across the state.

Yet Republicans in New Hampshire bemoan a meager seat in the state, leaving them clamoring for a strong contender after withdrawing their top recruiting targets, which included Sununu, Ayotte, and former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) , Who was the Republican candidate for the Senate in 2014.

“Sununu, Ayotte, Scott Brown, those were the top-tier candidates. And now we’re looking at the GOP bench in New Hampshire, ”another Republican strategist from New Hampshire, who was granted anonymity to frankly discuss the race, told The Hill. “It’s a list B.”

Among the candidates that Republicans believe could be competitive are the president of the state Senate, Chuck Morse, and Frank Edelblut, the state commissioner of education.

Edelblut told local media that “he is not ruling [a Senate run] out ”and would make a decision after Thanksgiving. Morse did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

Meanwhile, Bolduc ran for the Senate last year for a chance to face the senator. Jeanne shaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenThree Senators Say NYT Coverage of Sinema’s Clothes Is ‘Sexist’ Senate Confirms Biden’s Ambassador to NATO After Hawley Raises Booker Leads New Hampshire Democratic Fundraiser MORE (D) but lost in the Republican Party primaries. Since then he is closely linked to himself with the former President TrumpDonald Trump Trump Tells Former Aide Navarro to ‘Protect Executive Privilege’ in House of Representatives’ COVID-19 Investigation Jan.6, Panel May See Influence from Bannon Impeachment Texas Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson announces his retirement at the end of term MORE hoping to win the nomination this time.

However, concerns over fundraising problems in 2020 and Bolduc’s recent erratic comments, including calling Sununu a “Chinese communist sympathizer,” have raised concerns that he is not the strongest GOP contender to take on. to Hassan.

“I don’t know exactly what [Hassan’s] The war chest is right now, but it’s substantial and it’s only going to grow, ”said State Representative Wayne Macdonald, former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party. “She will have, hopefully, all the money she needs, and that will be a big challenge for any Republican, but especially Don Bolduc, who has not shown himself to be able to raise funds as well.”

Bolduc’s campaign dismissed such concerns, saying the recruitment surge that followed Sununu’s announcement underscores his bona fides as an outsider.

“Rumors are flying across the state of Granite about phone calls and recruiting efforts with other potential candidates. At the end of the day, General Bolduc has been campaigning for months and does not need to be personally selected by insiders in Washington or career politicians. He has been recruited by the people of New Hampshire for months and will continue to work for them, ”Bolduc’s campaign said in a statement.

Still, Republicans say it is a bit late to begin their recruiting efforts and complain publicly and privately that Sununu froze the field for months as he reflected on his decision.

“I knew I was putting the US Senate seat at a disadvantage for someone else to run,” Dennehy said. “If you are a first-time candidate for the United States Senate, you normally need 18 months to launch a campaign. A candidate with little or no identification takes a long period of time for the campaign to take off. “

In addition to giving potential Republican candidates less time to improvise their campaigns, the uncertainty also prolongs the amount of time Hassan has to promote his own campaign without competition.

“Every day that the Republican field is not established is a day for Senator Hassan to press her case,” said the strategist who was granted anonymity.

Republicans in Washington, who were caught off guard by Sununu’s decision to run for reelection, are optimistic that Hassan remains vulnerable and that they will be able to recruit someone who can excite the rank and file, even if it is not in the field. extent to which Sununu could have.

“Maggie Hassan is the most unpopular and vulnerable incumbent in the United States Senate. She has embraced the Joe Biden agenda and the radical left and New Hampshir residents are clearly rejecting her. We are confident that we will have a strong Republican candidate who can beat her next year, “said Senate Republican National Committee spokesman Chris Hartline.

Giving Republicans some leeway is a national political environment that is expected to cheer Republican candidates in elections across the country next year.

The first half of the term of a new administration is often marked by losses for the party in the White House, and Democrats are already on the defensive on issues such as inflation, the coronavirus, the withdrawal from Afghanistan and more.

Democrats’ concerns reached a fever pitch earlier this month after the Virginia Republican Glenn youngkinGlenn Youngkin Democrats face strong headwinds as they map out midterm strategy Race is not central to the Rittenhouse case, but the media yells at it anyway Youngkin says education may be a winning issue for Republicans MORE defeated the former governor. Terry McAuliffeTerry McAuliffe Democrats face strong headwinds as they map out midterm strategy Race is not central to the Rittenhouse case, but the media yells at it anyway Youngkin says education may be a winning issue for Republicans MORE (D) in the Commonwealth gubernatorial race, a contest seen as a benchmark for the midterm elections. On top of that, the governor of New Jersey. Phil MurphyPhil MurphyHouse Democrats plan 1,000 events to promote the accomplishments Ciattarelli formally bestows in New Jersey on Phil Murphy After a misfire in New Jersey, pollster offers remarkable apology for mistake MORE (D) won re-election by just 3 points in a state that Biden won by 16 points last year, indicating an atmosphere that may be strong enough to switch both houses of Congress next year to the Republican Party.

Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Poll Center, noted that last month’s poll showed Bolduc performed only slightly worse than Sununu or Ayotte, suggesting that the political environment may compensate a candidate who does not he is as strong as the governor. or former senator.

“Between a well-known challenger in Chris Sununu, a fairly well-known candidate in Kelly Ayotte, and a largely unknown person in Don Bolduc, they all did just as well. So I think it almost doesn’t matter who the Republican candidate is, they’ll do pretty well, “he said. “The question is, will they do well enough to remove an incumbent?”

Still, Republicans are resentful after being surprised by Sununu’s announcement, noting that the stakes in New Hampshire could not be higher in competing for a chamber that may or may not be changed, depending on the results of any seat.

“The balance of power in the United States Senate may well come down to the Senate race in the state of New Hampshire, so it is tremendously important,” Dennehy said. “And regardless of the fact that Chris Sununu is not racing, it could still end up being one of the premier races in the country.”

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