MANCHESTER, N.H. – Former New Hampshire Attorney General and U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte launched her gubernatorial campaign at The Goat Restaurant on Monday night.
Ayotte praised incumbent New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and said that she is running to succeed him in order to build upon the accomplishments that have come during Sununu’s tenure in Concord. She added that she would protect those accomplishments from Democrats that may seek to overturn them, particularly regarding possible new taxes.
Along that vein, Ayotte responded to reaction from politicians and media officials in Massachusetts who commented on her statement that New Hampshire is “one election away from becoming Massachusetts.”
“Here is what I want them to know,” she said. “I am never going to apologize for our great state and how awesome we are and I will never back down when it comes to fighting for the people of New Hampshire.”
Ayotte thanked the audience, which she indicated consisted of familiar faces from across the state and new ones as well, asking them to join her in her quest to safeguard the exceptionalism of New Hampshire among the 50 states.
“This state and these people in this room, you are exceptional and what we have (in New Hampshire) is worth fighting for,” she said.
Along with a call to arms regarding New Hampshire’s identity, Ayotte told the audience that she would fight for constitutional rights, reduce energy costs, reduce healthcare costs, support educational freedom accounts and educational parental rights legislation.
Crime was also a focus in her speech, stating she aims to support law enforcement officers, address personal recognizance bail, seek stronger punishments for drug dealers transporting fentanyl across state lines and support those suffering from drug addiction.
“I want to make sure the government works for the people, not the other way around,” she said.
In a remote press conference earlier in the day, New Hampshire Democrats blasted Ayotte on the issue of abortion, a topic she did not mention at her event.
“The most recent Republican to formally announce their bid has not shown her face in New Hampshire politics since her embarrassing re-election defeat in 2016,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “Ayotte has made no effort to hide her extreme views on abortion. For years, she has advocated for and supported legislation that rolls back women’s reproductive rights, and personally set the stage for Donald Trump’s Supreme Court to overturn Dobbs by blocking President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.”
The primary to determine the Republican and Democratic nominees for governor will be held in September 2024, with a General Election two months later.