New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, whose state will be the first in the nation to hold a GOP primary after the Iowa caucuses begin the 2024 run for the presidency, said that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis would win the primary if it were held now.
Sununu, a member of a veteran political family, is the son of former New Hampshire governor and onetime White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu and the younger brother of former representative and U.S. senator John E. Sununu. He spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Dana Bash, who noted a new University of New Hampshire poll that showed DeSantis leading Trump 42% to 30% among likely Republican voters.
“Obviously, DeSantis and Trump are the two candidates … whether he’s (DeSantis) declared or not,” Sununu stated, “He has hundreds of millions of dollars… obviously, Ron DeSantis is looking to run for president, which is fine. And he would probably win New Hampshire right now, without a doubt.”
Bash pointed out that Trump won the state’s primary in 2016, prompting Sununu to respond, “Could he do that again? Oh, he could. I don’t think he will. He could.”
Sununu said a speech Trump delivered Saturday in New Hampshire was seen as “very mundane.”
“The response we have received is, he read his teleprompter, he stuck to the talking points, he went away,” Sununu said. “So he’s not really bringing that fire, that energy, I think, that a lot of folks saw it in ’16. I think, in many ways, it was a little disappointing to some folks. And even he acknowledged it wasn’t his best. He came to a predetermined crowd, not one of his big rallies.”
Granite State voters put candidates through their paces, according to Sununu.
“Even if you’re the former president, you got to come and earn it person to person,” Sununu said.
Sununu admitted he is considering a run of his own for the presidential nomination, then said of the New Hampshire poll, “I’m surprised I’m on that poll at all.”
Sununu also warned against the idea of a 2016-type scenario in which multiple candidates vied for the nomination, saying candidates who don’t poll well early need to get out of the way.
“We don’t want a crowded field here,” he said. “Make a good run at it, but if it ain’t happening, you got to pull out and leave it down to the two, three or four candidates.”