New Hampshire Gov. Sununu Passes on Senate Run, Will Seek Reelection New Hampshire Gov. Christopher Sununu delivers remarks at the grand opening of DraftKings Sportsbook Manchester on Sept. 2, 2020, in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Scott Eisen/Getty Images for DraftKings)
By Charlie McCarthy | Tuesday, 09 November 2021 11:10 AM
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announced Tuesday that he will not run for the U.S. Senate in 2022 to try and unseat Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan.
The popular Republican governor, 47, instead will seek a fourth two-year term as governor, the Union-Leader reported.
Hassan has been viewed as one of the most vulnerable incumbents seeking reelection next year.
National Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., had encouraged Sununu to run for the Senate. Scott is chair of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.
"My responsibility is not to the gridlock and politics in Washington, it's to the citizens in New Hampshire," Sununu said at a morning press conference. "I'd rather push myself 120 mph delivering wins for New Hampshire than to slow down, end up on Capitol Hill, debating partisan politics without results.
"We have a lot more to do to protect the interests of New Hampshire citizens, and it's just clear that I can be most effective doing that here in the corner office in The Granite State."
Sununu recently took part in a Republican event in Sacramento, California, and this past weekend attended a national GOP conference in Las Vegas — appearances that fueled speculation he would take on Hassan.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, also attended the Las Vegas conference and told attendees that "every person here needs to come up to Chris and say, 'Governor is great, but you need to run for Senate.’ Because this man could single-handedly retire Chuck Schumer as majority leader of the Senate," The New York Times reported.
Sununu was reelected to a third term in 2020 with 65% of the statewide vote.
Retired Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, who lost a 2020 Senate primary to Corky Messner, already has embarked on another run, the Union-Leader reported. (Messner then lost to Jeanne Shaheen.)
Tuesday's announcement affects several people who had said they would consider running for governor if Sununu opted to vie for the Senate. They included former Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., state Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, and Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut.
State Senate Democrat Leader Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, and state Sen. Tom Sherman, D-Rye, are seen as potential gubernatorial candidates, the Union-Leader said. Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, D-Concord, also might choose to run.