MEMO: Sununu Prepares to Launch His McConnell-Backed Campaign for U.S. Senate After Most Disastrous Period for Any Governor in Recent NH History
OVERVIEW: Chris Sununu is preparing to launch his McConnell-backed campaign for the U.S. Senate after one of the most disastrous periods for any governor in recent New Hampshire history. Sununu’s anti-choice agenda is facing a massive backlash across the state, New Hampshire Republicans have lost down ballot race after down ballot race, and the Governor’s administration continues to face intense scrutiny for his failures to address the ongoing pandemic. And as if that wasn’t enough, Sununu is facing a massive rebellion from within his own party — even as his standing with independents collapses. BACKGROUND: Sununu Has Drawn Backlash From Granite Staters Across The State For His Anti-Choice Record
After Sununu signed the most extreme abortion ban in modern New Hampshire history — with no exceptions for rape, incest, or fatal fetal anomaly, and mandatory ultrasounds and felony penalties for doctors -- he has faced tremendous backlash from Granite Staters.
Nearly 200 health care professionals came out against the ban and community leaders across the state have spent months rallying against it — including former Republican State Representatives.
Sununu was also slammed after the Republicans on the Executive Council — who campaigned on defunding reproductive health service providers — followed in Sununu’s footsteps and voted to defund Planned Parenthood and other family planning organizations this year.
A month after Sununu signed the abortion ban into law, a poll found that the abortion ban was becoming even more unpopular with Granite Staters, with more than half of respondents saying they opposed the abortion ban.
Since Signing the Abortion Ban, Sununu’s Approval Has Dropped and Republicans Have Lost Down Ballot Races in New Hampshire
Since signing the abortion ban, Sununu’s approval rating has dropped precipitously and is at the lowest point of his tenure as governor. Two recent polls have shown that Sununu’s standing continues to “deteriorate” while Senator Hassan is showing "resilience" and her "ballot strength has stabilized as Sununu’s has weakened in the face of his declining job approval."
Republicans have also lost the past three NH House special elections, and Democrats won big in traditional Republican districts, swing communities and rural districts throughout the Granite State -- defying expectations and outperforming President Biden.
In Representative-Elect Andrew Maneval’s race, New Hampshire Democrats outperformed President Biden’s strong victory in 2020 by nearly 7 percentage points.
In September, Representative Catherine Rombeau flipped a R+5 district with a 12% GOP registration advantage. This was the first legislative special election red-to-blue flip in the country.
In June, Representative Muriel Hall outran President Biden in Bow and Dunbarton. President Biden won by 11% and Hall won by 15.7% -- meaning Hall won by more than 4% than Biden did in 2020. The district also contains 5% more registered Republicans than registered Democrats.
Democrats Bucked National Trends With Victories in Municipal Elections
This week, Democrats bucked the national trends and had a historic election night, with red-to-blue flips and landslide re-election victories across the state in races where Sununu invested serious political capital.
Mayor Andrew Hosmer was re-elected in Laconia, NH — which Donald Trump won by nearly 6 points — in a 46-point landslide in what is a clear sign of Democratic momentum in the Granite State.
Mayor Joyce Craig was re-elected to a historic third term in Manchester. This is the first time a Democrat has won a third term in Manchester since 2003, and she is the first Democratic mayor to be re-elected while a Democratic president was in office in decades.
Portsmouth’s Mayor flipped from red to blue, and Joanna Kelley was elected the first assistant mayor of color in New Hampshire history.
Sununu Continues to Face Intense Scrutiny Over His Failure to Address to Ongoing COVID Pandemic
New Hampshire’s vaccination rate is last in New England and hospitalizations and COVID cases continue to be high.
Sununu’s administration has come under fire after multiple reports that they have failed to keep accurate data on COVID-19, with recent reports showing New Hampshire’s COVID vaccination data has been inaccurate for months, and the state’s tracking system for new daily COVID cases stopped working altogether for more than a week in late October.
Sununu’s Republican Executive Council bowed to anti-vaxxer extremists and turned down $27 million in federal funding for immunizations — making New Hampshire the only state in the country not to accept the funds. Now Chris Sununu’s administration admits that the state’s vaccination efforts for children will be delayed.
Scott Schuler, a member of the Emergency Medical and Trauma Services Coordinating Board, recently resigned from their position, citing Sununu’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years.
Earlier the summer, Sununu told WMUR that “the state government’s role in this pandemic is over.” In recent weeks, it’s clear that Sununu meant it— the state has abdicated leadership when it comes to fighting COVID-19 and Granite Staters are paying the price.
Sununu is Facing a Massive Rebellion From His Own Party Which Could Have Serious Political Consequences for Him in 2022
Multiple Republican rallies against the Biden administration at the State House devolved into a protest against Chris Sununu’s handling of the pandemic — with Republicans shouting “Where’s Sununu?” and “He’s a RINO.”
Sununu and the NHGOP’s embrace of anti-vaxxers and lawsuit against the Biden administration prompted now-former Republican State Representative and physician Bill Marsh to leave the party and become a Democrat.
In September, Trump released a statement praising General Don Bolduc, Sununu’s potential primary opponent.
Sununu’s Links to McConnell Will Be a Major Liability With New Hampshire Voters
McConnell has been effusive in his praise, telling Politico that “he’d be a great candidate” and “we’re hoping he’d make the race.” The Senate Republican Leader even dispatched one of his top lieutenants, NRSC Chair Rick Scott, to New Hampshire to personally urge Sununu to run.
McConnell’s dark money group has already spent millions of dollars on falsehood-filled television ads aimed at laying the groundwork for a Sununu candidacy.
McConnell is toxic in New Hampshire. In February, a UNH Survey Center poll showed only 4 percent of Granite Staters had a favorable opinion of him while 79 percent viewed him unfavorably. Even among registered Republicans, the poll showed McConnell with a 9 percent favorable/70 percent unfavorable rating.
Sununu is About to Launch His Campaign For U.S. Senate From the Weakest Place in His Political Career.