Government Watch / Politics

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu Betrays His Own Party in Redistricting Fiasco

AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris

Sununu

Earlier this week, New Hampshire became the last state in the country to adopt a redistricting plan after the state Supreme Court voted to approve a map drawn by a court-appointed special master. The decision concludes an embarrassing saga for Republican Governor Chris Sununu after he vetoed two maps drawn by the Republican-controlled state legislature – just the latest example of Sununu seeming to work at every turn to block the advancement of conservative interests in the Granite State.

Despite New Hampshire generally being a battleground state in presidential and statewide elections, all four members of the state’s Congressional delegation—two House members and two Senators—are Democrats, and a Republican has not won a U.S. House or Senate seat there since 2014. Following a census year, Republicans were thus understandably eager to draw new maps that might create more parity in Congressional elections and provide more opportunity for strong candidates to represent the interests of conservative New Hampshire residents in Congress. With a Republican majority in the state legislature and a Republican in the governor’s mansion, it seemed the conditions were ripe for just such a victory.

But Governor Chris Sununu had other ideas. In March, he vetoed a map drawn by the state legislature that would have created one likely Republican district and one likely Democratic district in the state. The map just “doesn’t pass the smell test” he proclaimed at the time, just days before introducing his own map that would have cemented the incumbency advantage for both Democratic Reps. Chris Pappas and Annie Kuster. Pappas even took the step of openly supporting Sununu’s map – hardly a welcome sign for Republican challengers hoping to unseat him this fall.

Sununu’s veto sent lawmakers in the state back to the drawing board, where they drew another map that by all accounts should have assuaged the Governor’s stated concerns. The new map was objectively more compact than even the original map, and was far from the absurd-looking gerrymanders being drawn in other states like New York or Illinois.

But Sununu again shot the map down, sending it back to the legislature with his veto stamp. His reasoning this time? The new plan would have moved Manchester, the home of Chris Pappas, into the 2nd District along with Kuster’s hometown of Hopkinton.

According to Sununu, this made the map “unfair” – never mind the fact that U.S. House members don’t have to live in the district in which they run, and that no requirement in any law on the books prohibits the legislature from moving the hometown of one incumbent member into the district of another. In fact, such circumstances arise in nearly every redistricting cycle in other larger states, and are simply a fact of life for those members.

In vetoing the second map, Sununu punted the decision to the state Supreme Court, which took over the process, citing a “demonstrated impasse” as a result of the Governor’s vetoes. On Tuesday, the Court adopted a map drawn by a special master tasked with redrawing the original map with as few changes as possible to reflect population shifts. In effect, the entire debacle will end up as a win for Sununu, as the map he drew back in March was not all that dissimilar from the final map approved by the Court. The status quo will largely remain unchanged, and Republicans will still have longer than necessary odds of securing any Congressional seat in New Hampshire this November.

But even with the redistricting ordeal over, there remains the puzzling question of why Governor Sununu went to such lengths seemingly to protect Democratic incumbents, even to the point of twice vetoing legislation passed by a legislative body controlled by his own party. In both cases, Sununu seemed to be grasping for any rationale to oppose the measures, in the end simply resorting to the bald assertion that the second Republican map was “unfair” and that “the citizens of New Hampshire will not accept [the map].”

But just which citizens is Sununu referring to? With any decision made by elected officials, people of one political persuasion are likely to be pleased, while those of the opposite political persuasion are likely to be displeased. It was the voters of New Hampshire who elected a Republican legislature and a Republican governor. Presumably they would not have been incensed by the creation of a more competitive House district. Why should Republicans in New Hampshire accept the Court-drawn map after the Governor vetoed the map drawn by their elected representatives in the state legislature?

The conventional wisdom among GOP insiders is that Sununu is hoping to avoid the appearance of being too partisan in the purple state – potentially in preparation for a 2024 presidential bid.

If that is indeed the case, Sununu may do better to follow the lead of someone like Governor Glenn Youngkin in Virginia – a Republican leader of a far more left-leaning state who, instead of trying to play both sides, is unabashedly governing according to conservative principles and trusting that the voters of his state will support him. Currently, all Sununu is likely doing is alienating voters of his own party while failing to convince anyone else, Democrat or Independent, to support him or any other Republican. 

Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwest Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @Shane_Harris_


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Ashlee
2 months ago

What did I just read? Bottom line is this putz is a paid for lacky of Soros and his Democrat slaves. Lets call a spade a spade here people, he is a RINO period!

Rich
2 months ago

Another swamp rat? You wonder how many RHINO’s are benefiting by going to the dark side. Or, just politics as usual.

spafon
2 months ago

I’m skeptical of how much it’s possible to screw up redistricting a state with two districts.

Tom C.
2 months ago

Never underestimate the ability of the Republicans to alienate their own voters and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory! Watch how they screw up in November where they should
win a 60-70 vote house margin but will end up a paltry 30-40 seats just an average year! I’m
sure they will barely scrape by in the Senate with only +1-2 seats which the Democrats will promptly neutralize with fear and loathing against several turncoat GOP’ers! From there the Democrats will turn the USA into a dictatorship of the proletariat and we will run to Switzer-
land only free country left on earth.

Enuf Said
2 months ago
Reply to  Tom C.

Wll, Tom-you like the Dim Wits are going to get your feelings hurt. Dims are going to get CRUSHED–YOU know it and I KNOW IT!! This fear mongering by so called RHINO supporters only supports the Dim narrative. Send me another comment after mid-terms– I GUARANTEE I won’t hear a peep from you. Switsy’s love other countries to protect THEM at the expense of OTHER countries military youth!

Ashlee
2 months ago
Reply to  Enuf Said

@Enuf Said I hate to break it to you but sadly the Republican’s will be the ones CRUSHED. I am not talking the cheating that will happen on the part of the Democrats I am talking how the Republican’s mouths and actions on their own killed their chances of winning. You see they couldn’t shut up and watch the fur fly in the Democrat’s playhouses, no they had to bring up and push to erase the Roe crap. By bringing that up and pushing for that right before elections and not after elections the darn fools have helped the Democrats not hurt them. You see people are as sick of the Republican’s always harping on the Roe case during every election as they are of the Democrats and their weapons BLM and Antifa. When will either party learn to keep their mouths shut till after elections not before? Oh and I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican so hate on me all you want at least I know when to hold it (keep mouth shut), when to fold it (tell them off), when to walk away and when to run. :-)

Jay David
2 months ago

The Sununu’s have always been arrogant jackasses. Daddy was lickspittle for Herbert Walker. They both tended to thwart Reagan.

????????????.????????????????????????????????????.????????????/
2 months ago
Reply to  Jay David
  • Makes me wonder if Dems are infiltrating the GOP for this specific purpose. They will fight for their agenda by any and all means necessary. When are conservatives or all Republicans going to realize what’s happenin
Gloria Ruiz
2 months ago
Reply to  Jay David

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Rich
2 months ago
Reply to  Gloria Ruiz

Please advertise on the AARP website.

Something, Something
2 months ago

I guess if he wants to run on the Democratic ticket he has a chance. A pretty strange way to run as a candidate if you are Republican. I think you are supposed the party, not undermine it. What a joker.

Gloria Ruiz
2 months ago

nu on? This guy is yet another example of a “moderate Republican” who should be considered a democrat.

Ashlee
2 months ago
Reply to  Gloria Ruiz

@Gloria Ruiz spoken by a plant of the Democrats on a Predominantly Republican’s news site I see. So who do you think your fooling? Take your work at home scam elsewhere.

Theresa Coughlin
2 months ago

Whose side in Sununu on? This guy is yet another example of a “moderate Republican” who should be considered a democrat.

Pat R
2 months ago

If not a Democrat, another RINO for sure.

Glen Martin
2 months ago

One word explains this: “RINO” : Definition; A Democrat/Socialist maybe Communist who runs on the Republican ticket saying all the right words before election day.

Pat R
2 months ago
Reply to  Glen Martin

Makes me wonder if Dems are infiltrating the GOP for this specific purpose. They will fight for their agenda by any and all means necessary. When are conservatives or all Republicans going to realize what’s happening and that they MUST stand and FIGHT BACK?

Dave!
2 months ago

The Sununu family is one of the reasons Democrats just walk all over Republicans. He’s made of the same substance as his father who incredibly recommended one of the worst Supreme Court justices ever: David Souter.

An awful addition to the court and a horrible political blunder.

Gabe
2 months ago

What’s perplexing about this is he had no qualms signing a gerrymandered executive council map and legislative maps into law. What made this different? Likely higher profile.

Cheryl Pokorny
2 months ago

Thanks for this article! Being from New Hampshire, I was interested on your take of Governor Sununu. Personally, I don’t always agree with him, but I think he tries to please both sides. I have a friend that is currently a member of the NH House. She does not care for him. Now I understand why. She simply said he will lie to you right to your face.

edward
2 months ago
Reply to  Cheryl Pokorny

“She simply said he will lie to you right to your face.”
Well he is a POLITICIAN after all!

Dr. Nancy
2 months ago

His dad was a RINO as well!

Hal
2 months ago

Sununu is just a cheap act playing to the DemocRats to defang them for future elections. He represents the worst type of person to serve as a public servant.

Barrett Smith
2 months ago

Is Sununu a close friend of Romney? Has there been any large cash deposits made to his bank account recently?

Philip Hammersley
2 months ago

Sununu is a true son of his daddy : SWAMP RINO!

Garye
2 months ago

Exactly the problem, way to many so called republican politicians are just democrats in reality and vote and act as such.
Time for ALL marxist democrats and ALL rinos to go.
THROW THEM OUT

Rick
2 months ago

Sununu just seems like a second generation Rino!

Old Silk
2 months ago

Will they ever get it?

Gary
2 months ago

Will Republican “men” ever grow a pair ?

Art
2 months ago

IT IS NEW ENGLAND– HAVE YOU EVER HEARD THE SONG “BLUE ON BLUE-HEARTACHE ON HEARTACHE”?????????? THIS WINGNUT RAN AND WON ON HIS FATHER’S REPUTATION. HE WORE A MASK TO THE DANCE. MOST FOLKS MUST HAVE DANCED WITH HIM. EVERYONE SHOULD VOTE AND SMARTLY. CAN YOU FIND A CANDIDATE THAT IS OF RELEVANCE??????

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