In 2016, with a crowded Republican field, former President Donald Trump won the New Hampshire Primary with just 35 percent of the vote. He went on to lose the general election in New Hampshire and then was blown out in the 2020 general election in our state, too. Worse still, his shadow caused us to lose highly competitive elections here in the Granite State in 2016, 2018, 2020, 2022 – and even a special election a few weeks ago.

In New Hampshire, we have a great tradition of Republican candidates who understand limited government and that less taxes are the result of less spending. We respect the rights of the individual and common sense. And at times, when we disagree, that does not mean we have to be disagreeable. No one has demonstrated that more than our Gov. Chris Sununu – and voters from both parties and everywhere in the middle, have rewarded him at the ballot box for the better part of a decade.

But with control over the governorship and the General Court up for grabs next year, there’s too much at stake for New Hampshire primary voters to get it wrong. That means if Republicans here want to keep the governor’s office and our state legislature in GOP hands, we need the right candidate at the top of the ticket – and that’s not Donald Trump.

Former President Trump has become a uniquely polarizing – and unpopular – figure here in New Hampshire. Today, fewer than 50 percent of Republicans in New Hampshire have a favorable view of him, and 70 percent of voters don’t want him to run for president. Unfortunately, the former president isn’t doing anything to fix that problem. Instead of talking about the problems facing New Hampshire and our country, he’s been focused on his personal grievances, revenge, and a myriad of his own legal issues.

While we have lost races in the past due to the influence and effect of Donald Trump, what should be even more troubling to every New Hampshire Republican is that the current polling has President Joe Biden beating Trump by over 12 points.

The 2024 elections won’t just determine control of the White House. Voters here in New Hampshire will also decide which party has power in Concord. Right now, the GOP has just a four-seat majority in the state Senate. In the state House of Representatives, it’s even closer, and Democrats only need to pick up a few seats to flip the chamber. For the first time since 2016, Gov. Sununu, one of the most popular governors in the country, won’t be on the ballot to boost the rest of the ticket.

Republicans here in New Hampshire can’t afford to let former President Trump pull the spotlight away from Democrats’ failures and onto himself. In fact, we already know what will happen if Trump and his controversies loom over our elections. Just look at what happened in the midterms. Last year, despite polls showing that voters disliked Democrats’ unpopular agenda, Republicans lost 12 seats in the New Hampshire House, and all of our federal nominees – two House candidates and a Senate candidate who campaigned like and were inspired by President Trump – were easily defeated in what were supposed to be competitive races.

If we see a repeat of 2022 and Donald Trump costs Republicans in New Hampshire control of the General Court, Democrats would have the chance to roll back hard-earned conservative policy wins our state legislators have fought for and replace them with their progressive agenda. That means they’ll have free reign to pass their long-standing policy goals, like raising our state income taxes and passing a gas tax.

The fact is that former President Trump is bad for Republicans here in New Hampshire, and his candidacy is the only thing that can distract from Democrats’ harmful agenda. If Republican primary voters want the GOP to keep control in Concord, it’s clear that we need a new candidate at the top of the ticket in 2024. I have seen and met with several of the leading presidential candidates in New Hampshire, and soon, just like so many of our friends and neighbors, I will be making my choice. And, like the majority of this state and party, it will not be Donald Trump.