Sununu tests the water for presidential run

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 4:15 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WEST LEBANON, N.H. (WCAX) - The road to the White House in 2024 will once again start in New Hampshire -- at least for the Republicans -- and a familiar Granite Stater may be getting into the race.

With a visit this weekend from former President Donald Trump, presidential politics are once again front and center in New Hampshire. So far, Trump is the only Republican to officially enter the race, but others are waiting in the wings.

“In a leadership position, you have to be willing to have the fight, but we cannot have leadership that is only about the fight,” New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” And almost in the same breath, he confirmed that he is considering a run for president in 2024. He also said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis would likely win New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary if the race was held today. “He’d probably win New Hampshire right now without a doubt. I think that other candidates would look to get in this spring or this summer.”

DeSantis has not yet made an official announcement on his future plans. A handful of other candidates, including former Trump administration officials, Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley, and Mike Pence, have also been testing the waters in New Hampshire.

“I don’t know that Sununu’s early advantage in New Hampshire is worth what it would have been in the past,” said Linda Fowler, a political science professor at Dartmouth College. She says while Sununu is popular in his home state, he is not well known nationally. “These days, you have to have a lot of money early and you have to spend it fast to get name recognition, so he doesn’t have a lot of time to think about it,” she said.

In the 2016 presidential primary, Trump was able to pick off his fellow Republicans one at a time in a crowded field. Fowler says he is positioned to do the same thing this time around if the Republicans aren’t able or willing to unite around someone else. “The Republicans are going to have to do something they haven’t been able to do before. It’s not that he {Trump} is exaggerating the divisions in the party, he’s exploiting them,” Fowler said.

Sununu has said there will be better choices than Trump for the party nominee and that a smaller field may be better for the party in the long run. “The discipline is getting out too. The discipline is saying, look, you are only polling at 5% -- you got to get out,” he said.

Sununu did not give a timeline for making an official announcement. For the moment, he says is spending a lot of time nationally, trying to grow the party.