Home Top Stories Senate Republicans simply obtained some *very* dangerous information

Senate Republicans simply obtained some *very* dangerous information

Senate Republicans simply obtained some *very* dangerous information

“I’d rather push myself 120 miles-per-hour delivering wins for New Hampshire than to slow down and end up on Capitol Hill debating partisan politics without results,” Sununu said by way of explanation.

The decision — not to mention the harsh words for Washington — were met with frustration by party strategists.

“Unbelievable,” tweeted Josh Holmes, a longtime adviser to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, moments after the news broke.

That sentiment was everywhere in the wake of Sununu’s announcement as the prevailing wisdom had been that he was an all-but-certain candidate against Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan next November. Because the party leaders expected Sununu to run, they left him to his own timeline — and largely avoided actively recruiting people into the race unless and until they knew what the governor was going to do.

Sununu’s decision then not only comes as a bit of a shock and letdown for national Republican strategists but also creates a problem as the party must find another credible challenger to Hassan — and do it fast. (One name you are likely to hear a lot is former Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who lost her seat to Hassan in 2016.)

It also has reverberations outside of New Hampshire.

Remember that Republicans need only to net one seat in the 2022 election to retake control of the Senate majority they lost earlier this year. And, had Sununu run, Republicans would have been favorites to win the seat, with polls suggesting he would start the contest with a mid-single digit edge.

With Sununu’s no-go decision, Hassan likely starts any general election race with an edge — albeit a narrow one given her job approval numbers are middling and the state is split pretty evenly down partisan lines.

Make no mistake: New Hampshire will be competitive next fall. But it’s not the easy layup that it might have been if Sununu had decided to run.

With New Hampshire now a pure jump ball — pending who Republicans can recruit now that Sununu is out — Republicans may need to widen their search for competitive seats. New Hampshire, which would have been Republicans’ top pickup chance had Sununu run, is now back in a group of seats that includes Nevada, Arizona and Georgia. Following last Tuesday’s election, GOPers were promising to put Colorado on the competitive map as well but they don’t appear to have a top-tier candidate there yet.

For Republicans, they have five seats in potential peril: open seats in North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania as well as seats held by Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Marco Rubio of Florida.

With the Senate split 50-50 right down the middle, every competitive seat takes on outsized importance. Which is why Sununu saying “no” is such a big deal for Senate Republicans. Had he jumped into the race, it would have been a major momentum builder for Republicans across the country — proof positive that the political environment was tilting their way and would continue to favor them all the way through next November.

With Sununu staying put, however, some of that energy and excitement from last week’s elections drops off. Which is the last thing Republicans need at the moment.


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