New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announced Tuesday that he will not run for the U.S. Senate, dashing Republican lawmakers’ hopes for a popular challenger to Sen. Maggie Hassan.
The Republican governor said at a press conference at the Statehouse in Concord that he will seek a fourth two-year term, instead.
“My responsibility is not to the gridlock and politics of Washington, it is to the citizens of New Hampshire,” Mr. Sununu said. “I’d rather push myself 120 miles an hour delivering wins for New Hampshire than just slow down and end up on Capitol Hill debating partisan politics without results.
“That’s why I’m going to run for a fourth term. And I’d be honored if the people in New Hampshire would elect me again as their governor. We have a lot more to do to protect the interests of New Hampshire citizens. And it’s just clear that I can be most effective doing that,” he said.
Republican lawmakers had been waiting months for Mr. Sununu to decide whether he would jump into the race against Mrs. Hassan, a Democrat, former governor and first-term senator.
A contest between Mr. Sununu and Mrs. Hassan was expected to be one of the most closely watched political battles in the country in a cycle in which the Senate is split 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris casts tie-breaking votes.
Tuesday’s announcement puts the Republican Party back in recruitment mode for a candidate who can take on Mrs. Hassan, but also places Democrats in a difficult position to find a strong candidate who can challenge the GOP governor, the Republican Governors Association implied in a statement.
“Over the past six years Governor Sununu has fought for and delivered real results for the people of New Hampshire in some exceptionally challenging times,” said RGA Executive Director Dave Rexrode. “The RGA is committed to helping Governor Sununu build on his record of keeping taxes low, strengthening the economy, supporting our students and teachers, and keeping New Hampshire a great place to live, work, and raise a family. Democrat candidates risk their own political peril by challenging Governor Sununu and the RGA will be there to support his campaign.”