New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has endorsed the Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley Tuesday night at a town hall in Manchester, the latest step in his long-running effort Donald TrumpThe march to the 2024 GOP nomination.
“Let’s get this thing done. We’re all into Nikki Haley, no doubt. You can feel the energy. You can feel it,” said the fourth-term governor.
Sununu, who once considered his own presidential bid, joined the former South Carolina governor on the first night of his three-day campaign swing in New Hampshire. He has appeared with nearly every Republican candidate in recent months, weighing their chances, but in recent days has decided to back Haley and campaign hard on her behalf until the Jan. 23 New Hampshire primary.
“This is not a campaign,” Sununu said, urging voters to move beyond Trump. “It’s a movement.”
Halle and Sununu appeared together at center stage, standing behind an American flag and receiving enthusiastic applause from supporters. Haley thanked the governor for trusting her candidacy: “It doesn’t get any better than this, to be endorsed by a live-free-or-die governor.”
“I don’t think New Hampshire can keep it to themselves,” Haley said, invoking the state’s famous motto. “I guess we’re supposed to be a live-free-or-die country, right?”
Haley and the Florida governor Ron DeSantis They are in a tough battle to replace Trump as the leading Republican party. The contenders now have dueling endorsements from the respective governors of Iowa and New Hampshire, opening the race for the Republican nomination in January.
State of Iowa Kim Reynolds Endorsed DeSantis in November and campaigned extensively with him. He’s up for re-election in 2022 and is one of the most popular Republican officials in the state, but whether his support will move the needle for the Florida governor remains an open question.
Long before their respective endorsements, Reynolds and Sununu were at odds with Trump. The former president plans to campaign in Iowa on Wednesday and New Hampshire on Saturday, both of his dominant states.
Sununu made clear in recent weeks that he had narrowed his choice for an anti-Trump challenger to Hawley, DeSantis and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Haley has previously been vocal about her support for the New Hampshire governor, saying his endorsement would greatly affect her campaign.
“It’s going to be huge. There’s no mistaking that Chris is a popular governor, not just in the state. He’s popular across the country,” Haley said during an interview with radio host Jack Heath in November.
“The idea is that if we can get his approval, that would make a lot of sense. But, you know, we’ll wait and see. He’s taking his time at this point and we’re going to wait,” he added.
Sununu campaigned with Haley last month during town halls in Londonderry and Nashua. Haley hasn’t been shy about asking for his support in her race for the White House.
“Are you still ready to support me?” Hallie asked Sununu.
“Getting closer every day,” replied Sununu with a smile.
The endorsement is the latest setback for DeSantis in New Hampshire, where his support has fallen from its spring peak, and it creates a new headwind for the Florida governor’s hopes. He aggressively sought Sununu’s support, hoping he could go 2-for-2 in securing the endorsement of heads of state he pre-nominates.
“What happens in New Hampshire will be significantly affected by the outcome in Iowa, where the real Trump alternative will emerge,” DeSantis campaign spokesman Andrew Romeo said in a statement. “When Ron DeSantis steps down, he will be joined by more than 60 New Hampshire state legislators who are ready to return power to the establishment and their previous candidates to grassroots conservatives.”
DeSantis and Sununu did not always see eye-to-eye on leadership styles and approaches to governance. As Republican governors hunker down in Central Florida after the 2022 midterms, Sununu warned his party against what he called “big government Republicans” who are pushing conservatism on businesses — a clear swipe at DeSantis’ home turf.
Sununu was alarmed by the bitter dogma among Republican leaders, epitomized by DeSantis, who told the room to “not encourage anyone by pointing fingers and telling them how wrong they are.”
In February, the two clashed over DeSantis’ harsh approach to punishing Disney for its crackdown on LGBTQ topics in the classroom. Sununu said DeSantis’ actions violated free-market conservatism and set “the worst precedent in the world,” calling DeSantis “crazy.”
But by the time DeSantis launched his White House bid, he had adopted a more conciliatory tone toward the popular Granite State governor, praising Sununu’s leadership during visits there and speaking to local media. The two have campaigned together a few times in recent months and set out to prove a true camaraderie.
However, Sununu never accepted DeSantis’ pitch that the GOP race was a two-man battle between the Florida governor and Trump.
“I think the race is really wide open,” Sununu said, standing next to DeSantis in late October.
Although Christie has often questioned the power of endorsements throughout his presidential campaign, he has courted Sununu, his friend and fellow Republican of more than a decade, who he believes agrees with him in his commitment to accepting Trump.
The pair last appeared on the campaign trail together on Nov. 20 at a town hall in Nashua, where Sununu noted Christie’s dedicated efforts to campaign in the Granite State and praised him for “hitting more pavement and wearing more shoes in the 603. Is there anyone.”
Christie’s campaign on Tuesday played down Sununu’s latest move and promised to make progress in the Granite State.
“We saw the news about Governor Sununu’s decision to endorse Nikki Haley. It leaves us one vote short in New Hampshire, and when Governor Christie returns to Londonderry tomorrow, he will continue to tell the unspoken truth about Donald Trump and gain that one missing vote and thousands more,” Christie campaign spokesman Carl Rickett said in a statement.
“I consider Chris a friend,” Christie said Tuesday on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s “Georgia Politically” podcast. “We agree on a lot of things. We don’t agree on who to vote for in New Hampshire on Jan. 23. And one less vote isn’t that confusing.”
Reflecting on his endorsements of Mitt Romney in 2012 and Trump in 2016 last week, Christie told CNN’s David Salian that he was “skeptical about what the real impact of the endorsements was.”
“So, I would like to have it more because of my philosophical and personal agreements that I have with Governor Sununu than what I think it will bring to the race in practice,” he said.
Christy He has rejected pressure to quit the competition And rallied support behind Haley, telling CNN’s Omar Jimenez last week, “I’m not going anywhere.”
He clarified that there is no alliance between the pair.
This story and topic have been updated with additional improvements.