Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Sununu May Retire

New Hampshire is a light blue state. Since the 1988 Bush landslide, the only time it voted for a Republican presidential candidate was in 2000. That's seven of the last eight times for the blue team. Both senators are Democrats. Still, the Republicans have the trifecta, so it really is a swing state. The current governor, Chris Sununu (R-NH), is personally very popular and has been elected to four 2-year terms. However, the Cook Political Report is reporting that Sununu is likely to retire and not run for a fifth term. He said: "I'll make a firm decision this summer. Not leaning towards it. We're crushing it in New Hampshire. This isn't a career, it's public service. Someone else kind of needs to take the mantle. I've got kids to put through college. I don't know. You go out on top. We've done great and it's time for someone else to come in. That's where my head is right now." This doesn't sound much like: "Hell, yes! I love my job. Of course I'm running."

If Sununu were to retire, it would change Cook's rating for the Republican gubernatorial race from "shoo-in" to "toss-up." That's a pretty dramatic change, but the Republican hold on the governor's mansion isn't ideological. It is because the voters like Chris Sununu personally. And in a small state like New Hampshire, chances are most of the voters have met the governor personally at least once. A friend of (V) lives in Vermont and has met Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) personally probably 20 times. New Hampshire and Vermont are really like that. If you live in New Hampshire and have met Sununu personally, let us know what he is really like.

The Democrats are already looking for a candidate. Even if Sununu runs, in a blue wave, a Democrat could win so it is worth trying. Three of the past governors have been Democrats and three have been Republicans, although one of the latter served for only 2 days. (When then-Gov. Maggie Hassan resigned as governor on Jan. 3, 2017, to be sworn into the U.S. Senate, President of the New Hampshire Senate, Republican state Sen. Chuck Morse, became acting governor until Jan. 5, 2017, when Sununu was sworn in.)

Democrat Cinde Warmington, who is on the New Hampshire Executive Council, and Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig have already filed to run for governor. Of the two, Warmington is slightly leftier than Craig, but national Democrats have said both women are fine candidates in their view.

There are plenty of Republicans in New Hampshire, so a number of them are already thinking about a gubernatorial run. Former U.S. senator Kelly Ayotte is one. She passed on running for the Senate in 2022, but that is likely because she didn't want to move to D.C. (she has two teenagers at home). If Ayotte moved to the governor's mansion in Concord, her children could stay in their current schools in Nashua, half an hour away, if they want to.

Morse, the 2-day governor, who is still president of the state Senate, could try for a 2-year term. If you can do it for 2 days, you can do it for 2 years. His slogan could be: "You can learn a lot in 2 days." Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut (R) is also a possibility. If Ayotte ran, she would be the favorite to get the GOP nomination. Ayotte vs. one of the two Democratic women would be a close race and guarantee that New Hampshire would have its third female governor (the first two of whom are currently U.S. senators). (V)

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