Gov. Chris Sununu told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd on Sunday he hasn’t made a decision about entering the 2024 GOP presidential primary. But he did offer a blunt assessment of the current state of the race.
“Right now, if the election were today, Ron DeSantis would win in New Hampshire. There’s no doubt about that in my mind,” Sununu said.
Granite State DeSantis supporters told NHJournal they liked what they heard.
“Gov. Sununu is right,” said former state GOP vice chair Pamela Tucker. “What’s great about New Hampshire is that we’re always looking ahead to the future. Based upon Gov. DeSantis’ policies and record, I firmly believe he represents what we need to lead our country.”
Sununu’s comments came the day after former President Donald Trump’s appearance at CPAC, where he handily won the event’s straw poll of attendees, with 62 percent of the informal vote. DeSantis received just 20 percent.
Nevertheless, Sununu insisted Trump “is not going to be the nominee, that is not going to happen,” he told Meet The Press. “I just don’t believe the Republican Party is going to say the best leadership for America tomorrow is yesterday’s leadership,” he added.
Fellow Granite Stater and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski’s response to Sununu’s predictions about 2024?
“One thing is for certain: If Chris Sununu runs for president he won’t win the New Hampshire primary. I guess the rest is up for discussion,” Lewandowski said.
An NHJournal poll taken on the eve of Trump’s January visit to the Granite State found local Republicans split on the former president’s bid to become the nominee for the third election cycle in a row. Just 43 percent said they wanted Trump at the top of the ticket while 42 percent said they would prefer a different candidate.
However, when given a list of potential nominees, Trump had the most support (37 percent), followed by DeSantis (26 percent) and Sununu (13 percent).
Sununu has been the subject of several in-depth profiles by national media outlets of late, including Politico and The Wall Street Journal. In the WSJ profile, Sununu repeated a line regarding Trump ’24 that he used on Meet The Press. “He had four years. Thank you for your service, did some good things. And we’re moving on.”
Sununu did add, however, that as “a lifelong Republican,” he will be supporting the party’s nominee in 2024.
As of now, polls show Trump still has the most support among the GOP primary electorate, though it is well below 50 percent. But those voters who are ready for a change say DeSantis is their first choice.
“I agree with Gov. Sununu, DeSantis would win the New Hampshire primary,” said longtime New Hampshire GOP activist Kate Day. “I would just add that DeSantis would go on to win the nomination and the White House!”