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Two weeks after comfortably winning his fourth two-year term as governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu opened up about the current state of the Republican Party, its current leadership, and whether he’d ever run for the U.S. Senate or even seek his party’s nomination for president.
But first, he wanted to talk about his success, a success he attributes to focusing on the issues, the people, and staying drama-free. “I tried to keep it as uneventful as possible,” he said, “but I guess the Senate race was pretty eventful.” Sununu handily defeated Democratic challenger state Sen. Tom Sherman to return to manage the state of under 2 million.
The governor is the son of former New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu and brother of seven siblings, including former Sen. John E. Sununu. An MIT graduate, he is an engineer by trade, a married father of three, and an avid outdoorsman and sportsman who completed a five-month through-hike of the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia 24 years ago.
Sununu said his campaign focused on the concerns of his constituents.
“The No. 1 issue you always heard about was inflation,” he said. “In New England, it’s really about electricity, electricity prices, lack of natural gas because all across New England, we’re in real trouble when it comes to energy. The really dumb policies of many of the states around me have shut down power plants that we really need, and if we hit a cold snap, we’re going to be in trouble. You combine that with Biden not producing enough fossil fuels and natural gas, and all the things we need to stay warm in the winter. That’s a scare, especially if you’re a lower-income family or fixed-income. That’s very, very scary stuff, so that was the No. 1 issue.”
Sununu said Republicans were less successful in the midterms because they didn’t believe in the abilities of his party.
“People just didn’t have any faith that the Republicans running for the federal seats were going to be the ones to fix the policies like inflation concerns that were important to them because of some extremism and some partisanship,” he said. “To the Democrats’ credit, they did a good job pre-defining our candidates very early on while they were still in primaries as crazy or extreme. And when you get pre-defined like that, before you even get a chance to truly introduce yourself to the more mainstream independent voters, you’re now coming from a defensive position as opposed to, ‘Here I am, and this is what I’m about.”
Sununu said questioned the logic behind Trump’s midterm plan.
“The first question I have is, what moronic political consultants said, ‘Yeah, we’re only a few days away from the general election, let’s bring Trump in’?” he said. “Well, what are you possibly going to gain by that? There’s nothing to be had; you’re going after independent undecided voters. Those people have nothing to do with Trump, unless there was some bizarre poll that told me that there’s a lot of Trump voters sitting on the sidelines, but that was not the case.”
Also, according to the exit polling, Trump’s negative ratings were even worse than Joe Biden’s among those who voted.
Sununu said Trump’s announcement on running again in 2024 “fell flat” because he abandoned what he’d excelled at in 2016 – appealing to people’s real needs. Instead he’s been focused on a long list of grievances as his new platform.
“You got to be a little more genuine. You’ve got to talk to people at a more gut, real level,” he said. “As soon as you start becoming self-serving in your endeavor, voters are smart — they see it a mile away, and they’re going to move on.”
“I mean, there’s a reason why Trump made his big announcement and it fell completely flat,” he said. “Because it was about him. It wasn’t aspirational.”
Reporting by Salena Zito:
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) November 23, 2022
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