In New Hampshire, Sununu Ekes Out a Victory to Get GOP Nod for Governor

by | September 15, 2016

By Dave Solomon

Executive Councilor Chris Sununu of Newfields has won the Republican nomination for governor, having edged out conservative newcomer Frank Edelblut of Wilton by a razor-thin margin of about 800 votes out of more than 63,000.

Edelblut will not be seeking a recount.

The first-term state representative conceded the race in a joint news conference with Sununu on the State House steps Wednesday with a pledge to work aggressively on Sununu's campaign in the November election.

The Secretary of State's Office posted results showing Sununu with 32,391 votes to Edelblut's 31,587. Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas had 21,812; state Sen. Jeanie Forrester of Meredith had 18,599; Jon Lavoie of Hollis had 1,383. The totals do not include write-ins.

"I am happy that I will have the opportunity to vote for Chris Sununu for governor, and (Democratic nominee) Colin Van Ostern had better pay attention, because we're coming," Edelblut said.

"I'm going to be actively out campaigning to help Chris win this race in November," he added. "I'm going to continue to advocate for a good, solid conservative agenda."

Sununu congratulated Edelblut on a well-run, positive campaign and said he valued the endorsement.

"We're going to continue talking about the things that matter to the people in New Hampshire," he said.

Gatsas, who came in third, congratulated Sununu on the victory.

"For too long, Democrat governors have pushed a disastrous tax-and-spend agenda that threatens the New Hampshire Advantage," Gatsas said in a statement. "Colin Van Ostern would continue this tradition of failed leadership in the corner office by hiking taxes, increasing bloated government spending and implementing more burdensome regulations on small businesses."

Van Ostern, an executive councilor from Concord, won the Democratic nomination Tuesday. In his victory speech, Van Ostern said he would commit himself to improving the state's economy without a sales or income tax.

Democrats have held the corner office since 2004, when John Lynch defeated first-term incumbent Craig Benson, R-Rye.

State Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said Sununu was a weak candidate, who is "far to the right of New Hampshire voters."

"Sununu has embraced Donald Trump's destructive, divisive and disastrous candidacy. He has cast the deciding vote to defund Planned Parenthood, and voted to block Medicaid expansion," said Buckley. "He opposes establishing a state minimum wage and denies that climate change is real and man-made. He has expressed support for discriminatory anti-LGBT legislation."

New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn congratulated Sununu and commended all four candidates for a hard-fought, fair primary.

"Our state needs Chris Sununu as its next governor, and it's time for all Republicans to unite behind his candidacy," she said.

"For years, the Democrat governors have implemented big government policies in Concord that have pushed New Hampshire closer to the brink of an income tax. Chris Sununu has the fiscally conservative values needed to reverse this troubling trend and restore independent leadership in the corner office."

(c)2016 The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.)