NH Gov Sununu Declines 2022 Senate Run, Disappointing National Republicans
Sitting Governor Chris Sununu (R) will not run for Maggie Hassan’s NH Senate seat in 2022. Sununu instead will run for re-election for Governor and is likely to win re-election. Sununu was a top-tier Senate recruit, and national Republicans will be disappointed in his decision. Republicans will turn their energy towards another wildly popular sitting Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD), hoping to turn Maryland red. Watch for Kelly Ayotte (R) to run for Hassan’s job in Sununu’s place. Hassan defeated Ayotte by just over 1,000 votes in 2016, the closest Senate race of the cycle. Ayotte is like to face stiff primary competition from retired Brigadier General Don Bolduc (R-NH). Bolduc ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in New Hampshire’s 2020 Senate Race and has already declared to run again in 2022. Ayotte distanced herself from Trump throughout the 2016 election cycle, and Bolduc is likely to win Trump’s coveted endorsement. Ayotte is much more likely to compete seriously with Hassan in the general election, however, and Bolduc would likely only defeat Hassan in extreme Red Wave scenarios where Republicans do not need to win New Hampshire to win Senate control. Betters on PredictIt give Bolduc a slight edge to claim the nomination over Ayotte, 49%-41%. If Ayotte does announce a run for Senate, expect her odds to vastly increase. Ayotte is not a true replacement for Sununu though, in the eyes of national Republicans. While Sununu would have entered the race as a favorite, polling 2 points ahead of Hassan, Ayotte polls 5 points behind her. Hassan leads Bolduc by 13% in hypothetical polling.
According to our model, Republicans’ chances to flip Hassan’s seat decreased drastically from 55.6% to 36.3% after Sununu’s announcement.
Tilt R -> Lean D