Sunday, September 09, 2018

New Hampshire Governor- Race of the Day

58 Days Until Election Day

New Hampshire Governor

Status: Republican Incumbent
2016 Presidential Result: Blue State (East)

Outlook: Likely Republican

New Hampshire is well-known politically for hosting the First in the Nation Presidential Primary every four years, but the state also has some distinct political quirks. For one thing, it is one of two states, (along with neighboring Vermont) to elect Governors every two years. Another is that in recent years, the state, which is historically Republican, has been known to go heavily in one direction towards either party when there is a national "wave." The 2016 election was close though nationally, and the results in New Hampshire were fairly mixed. Democrats won the state's electoral votes, both U.S. House races, and defeated an incumbent U.S. Senator. However, Republicans captured the open Gubernatorial office, which had been held since 2005 by Democrats.

The last GOP Governor of New Hampshire was so unpopular, that the voters took the rare step of ousting him after just two years in office. This year though, that seems unlikely, as Republican Chris Sununu is seeking his second term. The Governor comes from a very well-known political family, as his father was a longtime Governor, who then became a national figure during and after his tenure as White House Chief of Staff. Chris Sununu's older brother also served a term in the U.S. Senate. In 2016, the engineer and state Executive Councilor, won a very competitive primary and then general election be elected Governor the week of his 42nd birthday.

Elections come fast and furious in New Hampshire though, and Democrats had to consider whether they wanted to challenge an incumbent, whom almost always is given at least a second two year term by the voters. Former Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern, who lost as his party's nominee in 2016 to Sununu 49-47 decided he had other political interests instead of a rematch. That has left the field for this upcoming Tuesday's primary to Steve Marchand, the former Mayor of Portsmouth, who finished a distant second in the last Gubernatorial primary, and former State Senator Molly Kelly to compete. There is not much polling data for the primary, but the expectation is that while Marchand should do better than a quarter of the vote this time, Kelly is the favorite to capture the nomination. Females Democrats currently hold both U.S. Senate seats (former Governors as well both), and both U.S. House seats as well (though one is not seeking reelection.) The gender trend is clearly on Kelly's side in her party.

Considering New Hampshire, for all it's "Live Free or Die" tradition is in New England, no Republican can truly be safe anymore. Democrats will ceaselessly try to tie the incumbent to Donald Trump. Nonetheless, Sununu seems pretty well-liked, personally and politically and is expected to not have too much difficulty. Since becoming Governor, Sununu has pushed back against Trump comments regarding the state's problems with opioid abuse and thinly sourced allegations of 2016 voter fraud.  Polls show he has a solid lead on both Democrats. His 2016 victory was impressive, considering what else was transpiring in the state. The Governor apparently has the skills to connect with both conservative and moderate voters, and unlike the U.S. Senator who lost in 2016, avoided angering Trump supporters, while still winning swing voters in the middle. This all adds up for what should be a second term for Sununu and possibly a bright political future.

Gubernatorial Races predicted thus far:

10 D  (2 Safe, 1 Likely, 4 Leans, 3 Tossup) 
12 R   (2 Safe, 5 Likely, 3 Leans, 2 Tossup)

Total with predictions thus far:

17 D (7 holdovers, 2 Safe, 1 Likely, 4 Leans, 3 Tossup)
19 R (7 holdovers, 2 Safe, 5 Likely, 3 Leans, 2 Tossup)


At 2:53 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Big question is whether Sununu runs for the United States Senate in 2020 ?


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