The Live Free or Die PAC supporting a Chris Sununu White House bid released a new video Thursday, a sizzle reel featuring Sununu’s political accomplishments and outgoing personality. It is the latest sign, Republican insiders say, that Sununu is moving toward a run, not away from it
The video notes Sununu’s “15-point victory” in 2020, says the message of his campaign is “candidate quality matters,” touts New Hampshire’s economic success, and features plenty of handshakes and hugs from the governor on the campaign trail.
“It’s gonna be a lot of fun,” Sununu says as the ad ends.
The move from Sununu’s PAC comes as the likelihood of former President Donald Trump’s arrest has largely overwhelmed the political conversation about 2024. While Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is still making some headlines — most thanks to Trump’s repeated attacks — candidates like former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy are struggling to break through the noise.
A new Twitter video isn’t likely to make many political waves, but it signals to Sununu supporters that he has a message he believes voters will find appealing.
Republican strategist Pat Griffin likes what he sees.
“When it comes to candidate quality — the ability to create a two-minute video to introduce yourself to the rest of the country with so many solid, energetic, conservative achievements — is unparalleled in this likely field of GOP candidates. Chris Sununu is what the party looks like tomorrow, not yesterday.”
The new video isn’t Sununu’s first.
Last December, Sununu’s campaign bought Facebook ads targeting Iowa and South Carolina featuring a video clip from a CNN profile of the governor.
UNH political science professor Dante Scala says the problem isn’t that Sununu doesn’t have a good message or political skills. Instead, he questions if the optimistic, upbeat Sununu of the video matches the current moment in the real world of GOP politics.
“To borrow from “The Godfather,” Sununu looks and sounds like a peacetime candidate,” Scala said. “The problem is, Republican voters think they’re in a war. And you don’t hire a peacetime candidate in a time of conflict.”
Sununu may feel a bit like he’s in a war, too, after Ramaswamy attacked him Wednesday over his silence on the Parents’ Bill of Rights legislation that narrowly failed in the New Hampshire House. Sununu has largely avoided discussing cultural issues- notably absent in his new highlight reel- and Ramaswamy says the parents’ rights issue is “table stakes” for anyone serious about becoming the GOP nominee.
“I don’t think staying silent about it and hoping this issue blows over is actually a viable strategy, either politically or, more importantly, as somebody who is asking people to be their leader,” Ramaswamy said.
A veteran GOP insider who has yet to back a 2024 candidate gave the video a thumbs up.
“It’s really good, showing two of Sununu’s greatest strengths: His energy and ability to relate to people. He connects with people in a way others struggle to match.
“He’s not just another old, White guy. He’s your neighbor, your friend, the guy you watch the Sox with, who also just happens to be a really popular ad successful governor running for president of the United States.”
On WGIR radio Thursday, Republican strategist Jim Merrill called Sununu “a potential top-tier candidate,” at the same level as Haley or South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott. And he sees no reason for Sununu to change his style to become a candidate for the White House.
“I think in the end you’ve got to run the campaign you feel confident running, and Chris Sununu, he’s never lost,” Merrill said. “My view is, get in, in New Hampshire, and make your case. We never know what’s going to happen here. In New Hampshire, everybody gets a chance.”