NH Gov. Sununu and the Presidential Hot Stove League
Gov. Chris Sununu has made the Washington Post's list of potential candidates for the 2024 presidential election, but is it something he really wants?
Sununu stepped into the national spotlight in recent months as he considered whether to run for Maggie Hassan's U.S. Senate seat or seek re-election. Even as he chose the latter, his reasons were noticed by even President Joe Biden in a call for bipartisanship.
“They were all, for the most part, content with the speed at which they weren’t doing anything. It was very clear that we just had to hold the line for two years. Okay, so I’m just going to be a roadblock for the next two years? That’s not what I do,” Sununu said, according to Biden.
It was part of the reason that earned him #9 on the Washington Post list. The Post's picks are based on the probability of running in the first place and getting nominated.
"He said he had been close to running, but that he spoke with GOP senators and found them lacking ambition. He suggested they were mostly interested in holding the line against President Biden," the Post's Aaron Blake wrote.
Winning Re-election Comes First
When asked point-blank by CNN's Dana Bash on State of the Union about a run in 2024, Sununu said he has to win re-election first.
"We will see what the future brings. But there is a lot to do and a lot to not just push back with Washington, but a lot to implement here. It's -- being governor is one of the most challenging jobs you can ever imagine. You got to be on 24/7. But I have the opportunity to do things, a dozen different things every single day that impact people's lives," Sununu said.
Bash noted that Sununu didn't say "no."
The Post also said that Sununu could probably better "massage the pro-Trump/anti-Trump divide than a lot of others on this list."
When asked on CNN on Jan. 30 if he would accept a hypothetical offer from former President Donald Trump to campaign, Sununu said he didn't need anyone's help. He also broke with Trump about pardoning those charged in connection with the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection.
"Look, the folks that were part of the riots and, frankly, the assault on the US Capitol have to be held accountable," Sununu said.
Trump advisor Corey Lewandowksi told Howie Carr on his WRKO program that following those comments, he was been charged by Trump with finding a Republican to challenge Sununu. Lewandowksi told Carr that Trump does not believe Sununu has been "loyal" to him.
Lewandowksi has an unspecified role in the campaign of Matt Mowers in the First Congressional District Republican primary. Mowers was a senior advisor to Trump and earned his endorsement in both the 2020 primary and general election.
Democrat state Sen. Tom Sherman of Hampton is the only candidate to make their intentions known for the gubernatorial race. He has formed an exploratory committee for a run, and will likely announce his candidacy in March.
The Washington Post list:
10. Mike Pompeo
9. Chris Sununu
8. Glenn Youngkin
7. Ted Cruz
6. Rick Scott
5. Donald Trump Jr.
4. Mike Pence
3. Nikki Haley
2. Ron DeSantis
1. Donald Trump
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH