Sununu will not run for fifth term as governor

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Image from Sununu’s twitter account

CONCORD, N.H. – On Wednesday, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu announced that he will not seek a fifth term as governor next fall.

“Public service should never be a career, and the time is right for another Republican to lead our state,” he said on social media. “This was no easy decision as I truly love serving as governor. I could not be more proud of our record and it’s thanks to your support that we’ve accomplished so much.”

Prior to serving as governor, he served on the New Hampshire Executive Council for three terms and also had a career as an engineer. His father John H. Sununu was governor of New Hampshire from 1983 to 1989 before serving as White House Chief of Staff under George H.W. Bush and his brother John E. Sununu was a U.S. Senator for New Hampshire from 1997 to 2003.

He is only the third four-term governor in New Hampshire history, following John Langdon and John Lynch. Langdon served in the 1790s while Lynch was governor from 2005 to 2013.

There have been multiple reactions to the announcement from around the New Hampshire political landscape.

Kayla Montgomery, Vice President of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund

  Over a decade in politics, Chris Sununu has defunded Planned Parenthood, vetoed legislation to reduce financial barriers to abortion care, signed New Hampshire’s first abortion ban in modern history into law, and refused to take any action to protect Granite Staters’ abortion rights since Roe v. Wade was overturned a year ago. While we wish him well in his next professional chapter, we regret that his time in office resulted in diminishing reproductive rights for Granite Staters. We hope that the next governor of this state marks a return to traditional New Hampshire politics in which our elected leaders, regardless of party, stand by our state’s values of bodily autonomy and personal privacy and act unequivocally to protect Granite Staters’ reproductive freedom.

Ray Buckley, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman

This announcement today marks an inflection point for our state. We can begin to turn back the clock on the damaging policies enacted under Chris Sununu’s tenure.

Sununu’s legacy is marked by some of the highest electricity rates, rising housing costs, and property taxes in the nation. Sununu signed the first modern abortion in New Hampshire history and, under his leadership, we emerged as the only state in New England without affirmative protections for abortion rights. As he continued to fail Granite Staters, Sununu’s impact on the state can also be observed in his role leading the rapidly shrinking Republican legislative majority in the State House, whose extreme legislation and behavior have become the frequent target of late-night talk shows.

Governor Sununu’s record has underscored the urgent need for more balanced, forward-thinking leadership. As we prepare for the upcoming gubernatorial election, we are enthusiastic about two incredible, highly accomplished candidates prepared to present a bold and inclusive Democratic vision to the people of New Hampshire. We are confident Democrats will seize this moment to build a stronger, more inclusive, and prosperous New Hampshire for all Granite Staters.

Chris Ager, New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman

On behalf of the NHGOP and Republicans across the Granite State, I extend our heartfelt thanks to Governor Sununu for his service to New Hampshire.

Throughout his tenure as the 82nd Governor of New Hampshire, Governor Sununu has exemplified principled leadership, tireless dedication, and an unwavering focus on the well-being of the Granite State.

Governor Sununu’s business and family-friendly policies have fostered an environment where citizens, entrepreneurs, and the New Hampshire Advantage thrive. His unwavering commitment to fiscal responsibility has ensured that New Hampshire remains a beacon of financial stability under the challenging times we see during the Biden Administration.

Beyond his policy achievements, Governor Sununu has been a unifying force for the Republican Party in our state. He supported candidates up and down the ballot to build a Republican team that cut taxes, balanced the budget year after year, and restored trust in the State Government. His ability to bring people together and find practical solutions to complex challenges has been a testament to his leadership and dedication to the people of New Hampshire.

All of us here at the NHGOP wish him the very best in his final legislative session and future endeavors. We thank him for all he has done for the New Hampshire Republican Party and the State of New Hampshire.

Democratic Governors’ Association (DGA) Executive Director Meghan Meehan-Draper

Gov. Chris Sununu’s announcement that he is not running is a massive RGA recruitment failure that will kick off a nasty, extreme and expensive Republican primary for governor — pitting one MAGA extremist against another. Not only have Granite State voters consistently rejected that type of division and chaos, but after four terms of Sununu’s failures on worsening problems — like the housing crisis, attacks on public education and harmful abortion restrictions — they know it’s time for a change. 

No matter which MAGA candidate becomes the nominee, the DGA is eager to hold them accountable to flip this seat and elect a new Democratic governor who will at long last fix the biggest issues impacting working families.

In governor’s races across the country in 2022, Republican primary voters consistently nominated dangerous MAGA candidates in crowded GOP primaries, who lost general election races because of their deeply harmful and unpopular positions on banning abortion, undermining democracy and attacking public education. This includes neighboring Massachusetts, where Republican primary voters chose to replace former Gov. Charlie Baker with Geoff Diehl, an election-denying extremist who lost by over 20 points in November. 

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig

Granite Staters have the opportunity to choose a new direction for New Hampshire. As I’ve had conversations with people across our state I’ve heard over and over that we need a governor that will support our cities and towns, lower costs, strengthen public education, build affordable housing, and protect our reproductive rights. I’m running for Governor to do just that.

The stakes of winning in November of 2024 couldn’t be higher, but the opportunity couldn’t be greater either. I have the experience leading our state’s largest city and I know how to win tough elections, which is why I know we can take back the Governor’s office. Together, we can create opportunities for Granite Staters in every community.

NH Senate President Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro)

Governor Sununu’s tenure has been marked by effective governance, thoughtful decision- making, and a deep sense of responsibility to the people of New Hampshire,

His accomplishments in fiscal management, education, combating substance abuse, and improving mental health services have left an indelible impact on our state and its citizens. Among his many achievements, Governor Sununu successfully balanced four state budgets without resorting to tax increases, a remarkable feat that has led to historic surpluses for our state’s coffers. He also launched the state’s first-ever school choice program while ensuring record investments in education, empowering families with more opportunities for their children’s futures.

I want to personally thank Governor Sununu, his wife Valerie, and his family for their unwavering commitment to our great state and dedication to improving the lives of all New Hampshire residents.

It has been an honor to work with Governor Sununu, and I wish him continued success and fulfillment in his future endeavors.

This article will be updated with additional responses as they become available.

About this Author

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.