The right-wing Republicans are pushing for an anti-Sununu secret ballot among party supporters ready to overthrow the “Sun King Sununu”.
Democrats send out daily press releases touting state senator Tom Sherman’s fundraising success and a poll they say showed Democrat Rzhanoy just one point behind Sununu.
With medium-term momentum seemingly shifting towards pro-Trump Democrats and Republicans gaining ground in his own party, does three-time Gov. Chris Sununu have any issues?
“One hundred percent yes,” said Thad Riley. He is one of the Republicans challenging Sunun in the September 13 GOP primary. “These are conservatives. They are ready for change. I just attended my 68th Republican event. The organizers tell me that when I participate in the program, they draw the biggest crowds.
“I feel this unwavering support from the people at these events. They all want to know, “How can I help you win?”
And Riley already had a “victory.” He got 71 percent of the vote in a straw poll at a Coos County GOP event last week.
Riley, an Ohio native, has been living in New Hampshire for over seven years, living in Brentwood with his wife and six children. Riley once worked as a Verizon manager and ran a fitness company, and previously served on the Brentwood School Board. He is one of five Republicans to vote in the gubernatorial primary, along with Julian Acchard, who started the year in a race for Congress in the First District, and Karen Testerman, who ran against Sununu in 2020 and failed to beat the double-digit record. mark.
They all say the base is unhappy with Sunun, especially his handling of COVID-19 and, according to some Republicans, his willingness to accept vaccine and mask mandates.
And, Riley adds, there is another overlooked source of potential political power: unhappy parents.
“Voters always talk to me about their schools. There is a real distrust, a massive exodus from our schools. A friend of mine, who is very upset about Critical Race Theory, introduced me to his son and told me he was taking him out of public schools and going to Portsmouth Christian Academy. And I said to my wife, “There is a devout atheist who has decided to send his child to the PCA. That’s how bad it is.”
Anti-Sununu sentiment is easy to find on social media and right-wing blogs such as Granite Grok. But it’s hard to find in the polls. Sununu is consistently ranked as one of the most popular governors in the country, with 80 percent approval among Republicans in the latest St. Anslem poll.
But Greg Moore, state director of Americans for Prosperity, says he’s not surprised there are unfortunates among the tough Republican Party.
“If you, like me, have followed Sununu’s political career since 2010, his message has always been in the spotlight. As a consequence, he was poised to nearly lose the Republican gubernatorial primary. [in 2016] Frank Edelblut stay center. It’s a great campaign strategy, as his success has proven,” Moore said.
Asked if having five main contenders is a sign of a potential problem, Moore said that, unlike the New Hampshire Democrats, who have a tougher party discipline, the Granite State Republicans have no problem with the main challenges.
“Think of Pat Buchanan, who got 39 percent of the vote against President George W. Bush. Or [New Castle Selectman] Charles Tarbell, who ran against Gov. Craig Benson in 2004 and received 23 percent of the vote.”
And with five contenders against Sununu, it’s hard for one candidate to unite the field enough to gain momentum and possibly turn it into a race, according to Moore.
Riley often compares himself to Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who came out of nowhere on a wave of parental anger over school closures, mask bans and far-left politics. “I run the Glenn Youngkin campaign,” Riley said.
But Youngkin ran against a pro-teachers union Democrat who attacked parents and rejected the idea of parent involvement. Sununu signed into law the Education Freedom Accounts Act, as well as legislation that essentially bans race-based CRT content in New Hampshire schools. This is a difficult argument.
“If there’s an anti-Sununu secret ballot among Republicans, that’s the best-kept secret in New Hampshire politics,” former state GOP chairman Rep. Wayne McDonald (R-Derry) said. “I predict this will remain a secret throughout Election Day.”