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Republican Gov. Slammed for Undermining GOP House Chances in Granite State

Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2022
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AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris

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Following the 2020 census, redistricting was sure to incite more than a little controversy in the lead-up to the 2022 midterms. But few expected that one of the most heated battles would occur in New Hampshire not along partisan lines, but among Republicans, with Governor Chris Sununu taking the audacious step of rejecting the map passed by the GOP-controlled legislature in favor of one that would advantage Democrats over his own party.

On March 17, Republicans in the New Hampshire state legislature released their proposed map for the state’s two U.S. House districts, along with new lines for the state legislature. That model would create one likely Republican and one likely Democratic district, shifting the New Hampshire First Congressional District from effectively even to R+7, while the Second Congressional District would move from D+2 to D+4.

However, in a decision that shocked lawmakers from both parties, Sununu said he intended veto the map, offering as a reason only that it “doesn’t pass the smell test.” Then, just days later, he introduced his own map, which would largely preserve the status quo in terms of the partisan makeup of each district – in other words, giving Democrats a chance to continue their monopoly on New Hampshire’s Congressional delegation, even as 45% of the state voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

Because both of New Hampshire’s House seats are currently controlled by Democrats, this would be a huge win for the incumbents, particularly Chris Pappas of the 1st District. Pappas would likely lose to a Republican challenger under the state legislature’s map, but might be favored to retain his seat under Sununu’s map, even in a Republican wave year. Unsurprisingly, Pappas eagerly embraced Sununu’s plan, saying he “couldn’t agree more” with it. The progressive advocacy group 603 Forward also said they were “thankful” for Sununu’s map – hardly a welcome sign for Republicans.

Defenders of Sununu have been quick to point to the fact that New Hampshire leans Democratic in most statewide elections and has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 2000. As such, he may be wary of appearing too partisan. But other Republican governors of far more liberal states (most notably Larry Hogan of Maryland, another governor who has cultivated a moderate image) have been far more willing to defend Republican interests in redistricting battles, even in the face of Democrat majorities in the state legislature.

This case is particularly troubling because Sununu isn’t even trying to strike some sort of compromise with Democrats. Rather, Sununu, a Republican governor, is openly rejecting a redistricting proposal from a Republican legislature that would give Republican candidates in New Hampshire a chance at winning one of the state’s two U.S. House seats for the first time since 2014. It’s a move that is as bewildering as it is infuriating for Republicans not just in New Hampshire, but throughout the country who need every seat they can to secure a House majority this November.

Moreover, Sununu’s map might not even be legal. While the governor’s lines would indeed make both districts competitive – albeit still with a Democrat lean in both – his proposed map would make one district more populous than the other by more than 1,400 people, not insignificant in a state with a small population like New Hampshire. According to an analyst for the nonpartisan Redistricting Data Hub, that may leave Sununu’s map vulnerable to a court challenge.

Some insiders within the Republican Party have even floated the idea that Sununu could be proposing his own plan in order to give a preferred Republican in the Democrat-leaning 2nd District an outside chance at winning in November – a chance that would likely not exist at all under the legislature’s map. Longtime Sununu friend and ally Jeffrey Cozzens has announced his candidacy as a Republican for the 2nd District seat currently held by Democrat Annie Kuster. While Sununu has enthusiastically embraced Cozzens’s candidacy, he has yet to offer any sort of support in a similarly crowded Republican field in the 1st District. The speculation is that the Governor is sacrificing the interests of the larger party to keep the district where his ally is waging a longshot bid for Congress from going too blue.

Sununu’s actions on redistricting also add to a growing list of frustrations with his leadership among Republicans both in New Hampshire and nationally. Earlier this year, Sununu, who calls himself a “pro-choice” governor, urged the state legislature to scale back abortion laws. Sununu also opposed and even threatened to veto a bill banning Critical Race Theory in K-12 classrooms amid the national debate over politicized education, and when asked about why he chose not to run for U.S. Senate, said he didn’t want to be a “roadblock” to President Joe Biden’s agenda, while criticizing Senate Republicans.

As many conservatives have pointed out, Democrats who win elections in red states more often than not show no such compunction to govern with any sort of moderation. Kentucky Democrat Governor Andy Beshear has openly attacked members of law enforcement, set Kentucky State Police on churchgoers who attended in-person services on Easter Sunday during the pandemic, and vetoed Republican bills that would have ended the statewide mask mandate in schools. Democrat Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina vetoed a Republican bill that would protect babies born alive as the result of failed abortions, and as Attorney General declined to review a Charlotte city ordinance that allowed biological men who identify as transgender to enter women’s restrooms and locker rooms.

Republicans’ willingness to submit to pressure from the media and the left on issues like redistricting has also unnecessarily dampened the party’s chances in dozens of races heading into what should otherwise be a strong election cycle. Meanwhile, Democratic states like Illinois and New York have produced some of the most aggressive gerrymanders in recent memory, perhaps providing an all-important buffer to a potential Republican wipeout this November. Even if Republicans do retake the House, it will likely be with a smaller majority than would have otherwise been possible if both sides were playing by the same rules.

With the pressure on Sununu from his own party in light of his announcement, it’s not impossible that he could reverse course, as he has in the past on other issues, and sign the state legislature’s map. However, that still wouldn’t answer the question of why this Republican governor is so often at war with other Republicans. If he continues to openly combat Republican efforts to advance Republican priorities – or in this case, just give Republicans in his state a chance to be represented in Congress – Sununu may find that he has no support left at all.

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mikem
mikem
2 years ago

Rino’s have got tp go.

Nobody’s Business
Nobody’s Business
2 years ago

When political stuff doesn’t make sense, follow the money, there is always a money trail. Then get rid of the traitors.

Dan W.
Dan W.
2 years ago

Too many state legislatures have used the redistricting process to protect incumbents.

Instead, Sununu appears to be playing the long game. By keeping the balance close in the two districts, the GOP could win one or both districts in 2022 and perhaps both districts in 2024.

Steve G
Steve G
2 years ago

Throw this turncoat republican out. He is not a moderate, he is really a demoncrat Marxist trying to pose as a republican!!!

Bill on the Hill
Bill on the Hill
2 years ago

The best comment here is by mikem, ” RINO’s have got to go…”
I live in Vermont, another New England state with a RINO as governor…The state of Maine with Collins in office, even though she isn’t governor, suffers equally with her in office as a RINO too…
Here in VT, Gov. Scott ” goes along to get along ” with his Democrat majority lawmakers, not so different than the the RINO’s at the Federal level in DC…
RINO’s in my opinion, are worse that the Democrats themselves, because they are selling a FALSE narrative to fellow patriotic conservative Republican’s, sound familiar?, simply look at our Federal members of Congress in both Houses. I rest my case…
Bill… :~)

Tony sick of Liberals
Tony sick of Liberals
2 years ago

Typical Democrap approach to stuffing a ballot box and making elections rigged. Sununu, your father would be appalled at your liberalisms…

Art
Art
2 years ago

SUNUNU IS A “REPUBLICAN” JUST LIKE CHARLIE BAKER IN MASSACHUSETTS. HE WAFFLES TOWARD WHICH EVER WAY THE WIND IS BLOWING. GOOD GRIEF HOW MANY DISTRICTS ARE AVAILABLE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE???? THE FISHING IS GREAT IN NEW ENGLAND AND HE IS A FRESHLY LANDED KIVVER FLOPPING ALL OVER THE SHORE.

Vietvet6769
Vietvet6769
2 years ago

Another distraction, yet it is important, Republicans have really have battle ahead, with bless of God we will be successful!

WillieBDare
WillieBDare
2 years ago

I see what Sununu is doing  in a different way. I think he is being sly. By putting forth his own redistricting, the courts will shoot it down, therefore he doesn’t come out as the bad guy, just the courts do. This way he gets his republican district and the left will be left with their mouths agape.  I see using the courts as a smoke screen as smart, so the demagogues on the left can’t use republican rhetoric as a talking point. 

Lee S McQuillen
Lee S McQuillen
2 years ago

Sure sounds like Democrat in Republican clothing!

Mark
Mark
2 years ago

Look for the $$ behind this move.

Philip Hammersley
Philip Hammersley
2 years ago

Like his daddy, he’s a RINO.

Top
Top
2 years ago

And the republican party wonders why the lose support.

Christian
Christian
2 years ago

hunt him down and hang him high. No nonsense EVER!

Morbious
Morbious
2 years ago

Guys like him campaign out of one side of their mouths then govern from the other. They dont believe a word of what they say on the election trail. Finally, they lose all respect for the people that put them in office for being gullible.

mikem
mikem
2 years ago

Rino’s have got tp go.

Nobody’s Business
Nobody’s Business
2 years ago

When political stuff doesn’t make sense, follow the money, there is always a money trail. Then get rid of the traitors.

Dan W.
Dan W.
2 years ago

Too many state legislatures have used the redistricting process to protect incumbents.

Instead, Sununu appears to be playing the long game. By keeping the balance close in the two districts, the GOP could win one or both districts in 2022 and perhaps both districts in 2024.

Steve G
Steve G
2 years ago

Throw this turncoat republican out. He is not a moderate, he is really a demoncrat Marxist trying to pose as a republican!!!

Bill on the Hill
Bill on the Hill
2 years ago

The best comment here is by mikem, ” RINO’s have got to go…”
I live in Vermont, another New England state with a RINO as governor…The state of Maine with Collins in office, even though she isn’t governor, suffers equally with her in office as a RINO too…
Here in VT, Gov. Scott ” goes along to get along ” with his Democrat majority lawmakers, not so different than the the RINO’s at the Federal level in DC…
RINO’s in my opinion, are worse that the Democrats themselves, because they are selling a FALSE narrative to fellow patriotic conservative Republican’s, sound familiar?, simply look at our Federal members of Congress in both Houses. I rest my case…
Bill… :~)

Tony sick of Liberals
Tony sick of Liberals
2 years ago

Typical Democrap approach to stuffing a ballot box and making elections rigged. Sununu, your father would be appalled at your liberalisms…

Art
Art
2 years ago

SUNUNU IS A “REPUBLICAN” JUST LIKE CHARLIE BAKER IN MASSACHUSETTS. HE WAFFLES TOWARD WHICH EVER WAY THE WIND IS BLOWING. GOOD GRIEF HOW MANY DISTRICTS ARE AVAILABLE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE???? THE FISHING IS GREAT IN NEW ENGLAND AND HE IS A FRESHLY LANDED KIVVER FLOPPING ALL OVER THE SHORE.

Vietvet6769
Vietvet6769
2 years ago

Another distraction, yet it is important, Republicans have really have battle ahead, with bless of God we will be successful!

WillieBDare
WillieBDare
2 years ago

I see what Sununu is doing  in a different way. I think he is being sly. By putting forth his own redistricting, the courts will shoot it down, therefore he doesn’t come out as the bad guy, just the courts do. This way he gets his republican district and the left will be left with their mouths agape.  I see using the courts as a smoke screen as smart, so the demagogues on the left can’t use republican rhetoric as a talking point. 

Lee S McQuillen
Lee S McQuillen
2 years ago

Sure sounds like Democrat in Republican clothing!

Mark
Mark
2 years ago

Look for the $$ behind this move.

Philip Hammersley
Philip Hammersley
2 years ago

Like his daddy, he’s a RINO.

Top
Top
2 years ago

And the republican party wonders why the lose support.

Christian
Christian
2 years ago

hunt him down and hang him high. No nonsense EVER!

Morbious
Morbious
2 years ago

Guys like him campaign out of one side of their mouths then govern from the other. They dont believe a word of what they say on the election trail. Finally, they lose all respect for the people that put them in office for being gullible.

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