New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu takes a major step toward running for president

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New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu takes a major step toward running for president

The moderate governor is launching a national group to test the waters for a 2024 bid.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu. Wade Vandervort / AFP via Getty Images file

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Feb. 8, 2023, 12:36 PM -08

By Natasha Korecki and Jonathan Allen

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has taken his most significant step yet in exploring a White House bid, launching a national political organization that’s a popular tool for prospective presidential candidates testing the waters.

The governor first confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday that he had formed the “Live Free or Die” committee (borrowed from his state’s nickname), a 501(c)(4) organization where politicians can raise unlimited funds. The donations don’t have to be disclosed, and prospective candidates often use these political nonprofits as a way to gauge interest from donors.

The move comes after weeks in which Sununu has publicly teased entering the GOP primary, which officially kicks off with a first–in-the-nation contest in his home state, giving him automatic name ID and familiarity.

“I’m excited to talk about the successes that we’ve had in New Hampshire: lowering taxes, creating educational choices for parents and kids, and building opportunities for businesses to grow and thrive,” Sununu said in a statement to NBC News. “What we’ve done in New Hampshire is a great model for the federal government — specifically promoting the conservative tenets of limited government, local control, and individual responsibility.” 

Sununu joins former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and former Vice President Mike Pence in forming such a committee. Haley is widely expected to announce her presidential bid next week.

Sununu will be in Washington from Feb. 8-12 for the National Governors Association winter meeting, according to his office, and while there, he is expected to have conversations about efforts tied to the committee. He is working with Republican political strategist Brian McCabe and the DCI Group in Washington on his new organization.

“As a resident of New Hampshire, I am proud of what Governor Sununu has done to lower taxes, increase educational opportunities, and grow our economy — all with a split state legislature and an independent voting block,” McCabe said in a statement. “If Republicans are going to be successful in 2024 and beyond we need a generational change to how we communicate our conservative principles. Governor Sununu has been successful in bringing all sides together to get things done for the people of New Hampshire, and if there’s anything I can do to help him talk about those successes to a broader audience, I want to do it.”

In a recent interview with NBC News, Sununu threw doubt on the candidacies of both Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Sununu said he did not think Trump could beat President Joe Biden if there is a 2024 matchup and cast DeSantis’ governing style as too authoritarian if translated to a national government.


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