GOP Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire said Sunday he is considering a White House bid in 2024, citing the Granite State’s “live free or die” spirit as a model for the Republican Party.
“Yes,” Sununu said when asked by CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” whether he was considering a presidential run.
“I really don’t have a timeline. I’m spending a lot of time naturally trying to grow the party as Republicans, talk to independents, talk to the next generation of potential Republican voters that right now no one is really reaching out to,” he said.
So far, former President Donald Trump is the only high-profile Republican to have officially filed for a 2024 White House run, but several others, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, are considering challenging him for the nomination.
Sununu, who won a fourth two-year term as governor by more than 15 points last fall, acknowledged Sunday that DeSantis “would probably win New Hampshire right now, without a doubt.” He said Trump, who spoke at a meeting of the New Hampshire GOP on Saturday, could win the state again but added that the former president was “not really bringing that fire, that energy, I think, that a lot of folks saw … in ’16.”
“He’s also going to have to earn it,” Sununu said of Trump. “And that’s New Hampshire. Even if you’re the former president, you got to come and earn it, person to person.”
Support for another Trump bid for the presidency among GOP-aligned voters declined across three CNN polls on the topic last year. In January 2022, the poll found a near-even split: 50% said they hoped Trump would be the nominee and 49% wanted someone else. By July, 44% wanted Trump to be the party’s nominee, and by December, 38% said the same.
Sununu was asked Sunday about a recent University of New Hampshire poll that showed DeSantis leading Trump 42% to 30% among likely state GOP primary voters, with all other polled candidates, including the Granite State governor, in single digits.
“I’m surprised other candidates, I think a lot of us, aren’t doing better,” Sununu said. “I’m surprised I’m on that poll at all, frankly.”
Whether or not he seeks the presidential nomination, Sununu said candidates should also know when to exit the race.
“I think there’s a lot of hope and opportunity for good candidates to get in, drive the message where it needs to be,” he said. “But the discipline is getting out too. The discipline and saying, ‘Look, you’re only polling at 5%, you got to get out.’ We don’t want a crowded field here.”
Sununu on Sunday outlined the values that would anchor a potential White House bid as he called for Republicans to return to “believing in individual responsibility” rather than wading into cultural fights.
“I think a lot of Republican leadership is getting behind this idea that we have to fight. And I get it, as, in a leadership position, you have to be willing to have the fight. But we cannot have leadership that is only about the fight,” he said.
Politics runs in Sununu’s family: He is the 82nd governor of New Hampshire, while his father, John H. Sununu, was the 75th governor, serving from 1983 to 1989, before becoming President George H.W. Bush’s White House chief of staff. His older brother, John E. Sununu, represented the state in the House and Senate from 1997 to 2009.