Republican Governor Announces He Will Not Run For Re-Election In Swing State
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, UNITED STATES - 2023/04/14: New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu speaks to guests at the 2023 NRA-ILA Leadership Forum in Indianapolis. The forum is part of the National Rifle Association's Annual Meetings & Exhibits which is expected to draw around 70,000 guests, opens today and runs through Sunday.
Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

New Hampshire’s Republican Governor Chris Sununu will not run for re-election in 2024.

Sununu, who had previously mulled a presidential bid, announced that he would not run for the governorship Wednesday in an email to supporters, according to POLITICO.

“After discussions with Valerie and the kids and much consideration, I have decided not to run for another term as Governor in 2024,” Sununu wrote. “Public service should never be a career, and the time is right for another Republican to lead our great state.”

Sununu is currently in his fourth term, being first elected in 2016. New Hampshire elects governors to two-year terms and does not impose term limits on them. Sununu hinted at his retirement during a June interview on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.”

“Could I win again? Of course. But it’s [public] service, and someone else needs to kind of take the mantle,” Sununu told Hill.

Chris Sununu is popular in the Granite State, boasting a 66% approval rating and winning each election with sizable majorities in 2020 and 2022, even as Republicans lost in the presidential and Senate races in New Hampshire.

Despite Sununu’s electoral success, the Democratic Governors Association said that voters “know it’s time for a change” after “four terms of Sununu’s failures on worsening problems — like the housing crisis, attacks on public education and harmful abortion restrictions.”

Sununu’s retirement has heated up the election in New England’s only purple state, and Democrats see this as their best opportunity in eight years to retake the governorship. Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington have already declared their candidacies. 

Former New Hampshire state Senate President Chuck Morse announced his campaign for governor immediately following Sununu’s announcement. Morse ran for U.S. Senate in 2022, but lost the GOP primary to Trump-backed Don Bolduc, who lost to incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

Former U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) thanked Sununu for his leadership in a Twitter post, and hinted that she may jump into the race.

“Our next Governor must be a tough and tested conservative who will fight to ensure that New Hampshire remains safe, prosperous, and free. I look forward to announcing some big news in the coming days,” Ayotte wrote. “Like many Granite Staters, I fear that we are one election away from turning into Massachusetts.”

Ayotte refused to endorse then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016 and lost her Senate seat the same year. She previously served as the state’s attorney general and argued in favor of the state’s parental notification abortion law before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ayotte is the frontrunner in the Republican primary, with a New Hampshire Journal poll showing her leading Morse by 40 points. An Ayotte-affiliated PAC has also raised $414,000 for a gubernatorial bid, according to the Journal.

Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball has moved this race from “Likely Republican” to “Toss-Up.”

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