Political Forecast: Sununu Sees Potential in Christie, Recommends Pence Step Aside…

Political Forecast: Sununu Sees Potential in Christie, Recommends Pence Step Aside

Chris Sununu had recently finished a call with Mike Pence.

It had been less than 27 hours since the governor of New Hampshire had stated he would not be running for president. Pence, who will launch his own White House bid in Iowa on Wednesday, called Sununu to catch up before heading back to New Hampshire later in the week.

“Oh, he’s a friend,” Sununu remarked, shifting in one of the two plush red armchairs in his state house office. He was merely briefing me on his plans and where he would be at any given time. I promised him that, if possible, we could meet for coffee.

As the son of a prominent political family and a four-term governor, Sununu is well-connected in the state that holds the first primary in the country and knows how to get votes there.

The Republican candidates for president are well aware of this. Even while they might have been running against Sununu, they were still texting and meeting in his state house office, where he occasionally keeps a colonial-era map of New Hampshire, asking for guidance on how to manage the state. Since he decided not to run, he says, nearly all of them have reached out to him. Besides Larry Elder, of course.

Sununu said he decided against running for president because he was afraid a crowded field would help former President Donald Trump win the Republican nomination for a third time and ultimately lose the 2024 election. Sununu says he can provide his honest ideas because he stays out of the battle. To put it to the test, I met with the governor in Concord on Tuesday.

Kashinsky: Who of the candidates running for office has reached out to you for help within the past day?

Sununu: Absolutely everyone. Yes, each and every one of them. If you keep naming potential applicants, I can’t keep track of who didn’t get a call back from you. But everyone was exceptionally courteous. Since they are all buddies, they are showing each other appreciation. Just texted with a tonne of people, chatted to a few. Elder Larry did not. Not very familiar with Larry Elder. It seems he has lost my contact info.

Kashinsky: Many of these people have been referred to as “friends” by you. You’ve promised honesty about whether or not people should evacuate, though. How can you remain friends when telling someone they need to drop out of a race in a straightforward manner?

Sununu: You don’t tell it as it is with your pals?

I agree, Kashinsky.

That’s it, I’m done, Sununu. It simplifies matters greatly. Because eliminating competitors wouldn’t benefit me in any way. To be the voice of reason and friendliness from the outside, the one who can peek in and say, “Hey, this is working” or “There’s no path here,” and mean it.

Kashinsky: Chris Christie plans to centre his campaign around the Granite State once again. The previous attempt was unsuccessful for him. Will it finally work for him?

Sununu: It can. Chris is, in my opinion, far more at ease now than he was back in 2016. He ran for the first time in 2016, and the results were quite encouraging. Chris, he seems really honest and sincere. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything; he tells it like it is. There’s an inherent sincerity there that I believe will strike a chord with many. I like that he seems to have adopted a “what have I got to lose?” mentality.

Kashinsky: Vice President Pence will visit on Friday.

Sununu: I had a conversation with him just now.

Kashinsky: It seems like Iowa would be a better fit for his campaign. In New Hampshire, what would you suggest to him?

Sununu: If I may make a suggestion, let’s treat it a bit more like a race for governor. Loosen your necktie. Feel free to ditch the outerwear. Put your hands on your hips or something. It’s a lot to expect of a former vice president, and a lot to recommend, but if he can adopt a more grassroots strategy, it might help him win over voters in Indiana and New Hampshire. Do as Indiana does and ignore New Hampshire.

Kashinsky: Go ahead and tick off a couple more potential choices.

I don’t want to give too much away, Sununu says. I have to take a break and eat a cookie while you sort through the applicants.

Kashinsky: Nikki Haley has visited here quite a few times. Scott, Tim. Mr. Vivek Ramaswamy. At the moment, they are all clustered together in the low single digits of the polls —

Sununu: However, each one of them is a unique person.

Nikki and I go back a long way. She’s a regular visitor. I really appreciate all the aid she gave me during the campaign. We constantly communicate via text message. She has fantastic rapport with locals in New Hampshire. She definitely stands out from the other candidates because she is a woman. As a former governor, she has a wealth of knowledge about the inner workings of state government, and she also has an impressive experience in terms of ambassadorship. She’s got everything going for her. No one has ever said to me, “Oh boy, I really don’t like Nikki.”

Tim Scott has frequented this establishment. I was the one to present him at a gathering. He’s a really kind guy. He’s such a nice man. He’ll need to throw down some serious cash and engage in some retail politics.

I don’t know Vivek very well, but if I were to give him advice, I’d tell him that his anti-woke message is likely to strike a chord with many people. However, he must ensure that he discusses inflation, fiscal discipline, border security, and all these other parts that wrap around the fight against cancel culture, and he appears to be turning in that direction.

Kashinsky: You did, in fact, spend an hour or so last month talking with Florida’s new governor, Ron DeSantis. What would you suggest he do?

Sununu: Well, I’m constantly in contact with Ron. He has a leg up on the competition because he appears to be financially better off than other people. He would have a leg up on the competition if he started assembling his ground game now, rather than waiting until later. We’re talking about actually going up and knocking on people’s doors here. Since he is a serving governor, he can speak authoritatively on matters of contemporary governance and leadership, including mental health and opioid addiction, both of which are pressing concerns in Florida and the United States. And he’s one of the few hopefuls with the chops to pull it off. Doug Burgum, Governor of North Dakota A someone like Burgum might be able to pull it off.

I think it could really gather up momentum and carry a lot of weight if [DeSantis] combines that with a ground game early on.

Kashinsky: Did it bother you at all that Governor DeSantis didn’t actually take any questions from people when he visited here last week?

Sununu: I won’t say anything about those four occurrences because they are likely only the beginning of, like, 104 more. There will be plenty of chances to do that, I believe. You should constantly give them a chance to ask questions and learn more about you. But I don’t want to criticise him, and I’m not doing it here, because I don’t know how those were organised.

Kashinsky: If you don’t run for office, you’ve promised to endorse early and campaign vigorously.

Sununu: I never said I would provide my support immediately. I could go along with it, but probably not right away. Yeah. In other words, you shouldn’t hold your breath for an endorsement any time soon. I would hold off judgement until I saw how they performed on the [debate] stage and in statewide politics.

Kashinsky: Do you think your endorsement will be the deciding factor for a candidate in New Hampshire?

I don’t want to be so modest, Governor Sununu, as to imply that your support would amount to nothing. It would, of course, be significant. The significance, though, is something that, in my opinion, will not be known for some time. When I make an endorsement, whose candidate I back, and what their circumstances are all play a role. However, I don’t put too much stock in endorsements, not even my own. A candidate’s chances of success depend heavily on their own efforts.

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