New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu will run for re-election instead of US Senate

Staff report
Portsmouth Herald

CONCORD, N.H. — Republican Gov. Chris Sununu went against what political pundits have been speculating for months, announcing Tuesday he will run for a fourth term as governor.

He will not challenge Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in 2022 for the right to represent New Hampshire in Washington.

"My responsibility is not to the gridlock in Washington," Sununu said. "It's here in New Hampshire. We have a lot more to do to protect the interests of New Hampshire citizens.

Sununu, 47, said he can have more impact as governor than in Washington, where "too often doing nothing is considered a win."

"It continues to be the most fulfilling opportunity I could possibly imagine," he added. "I've had to work hard to push back on Washington's attempt to over-regulate communities here in New Hampshire."

Sununu versus Hassan would have been one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country. Both are residents of the small Seacoast town of Newfields, which has a population of 1,758, according to the 2020 Census. Hassan is a former governor, leading New Hampshire from 2013-17.

Gov. Chris Sununu.

Sununu had been recruited by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to run against Hassan, as the GOP hopes to take back the majority in Congress in 2022.

Sununu's decision is expected to have a domino effect on top Republicans' political plans in New Hampshire with former U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, state Senate President Chuck Morse and state Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut all possibly running for higher office based on his decision.

Sununu's father John H. Sununu is a former governor and White House chief of staff under President George H. W. Bush. His brother John E. Sununu is a former U.S. senator and U.S. House member.