Sunday, April 14, 2013

Goings-on in the 2014 New Hampshire senate race

The New Hampshire Union Leader reported recently that former Republican Sen. John E. Sununu will not run for the U.S. Senate in 2014 in New Hampshire against incumbent Democrat and former three-term Gov. Jeanne Shaheen. This would have been a rematch, as Shaheen beat incumbent Sununu in 2008.

He said the usual things about politics being about timing, and wanting to spend more time with his family and enjoying working in the private sector. That could all be true. I always suspect candidates don't really think they can win when they say things like that. 

Those handicapping the race seem to agree that Sununu would have been the strongest challenger, which means that his announcement will
result in a flurry of activity from second-tier candidates who have been holding fire until now. 
Several Republicans, including former U.S. Rep. and current state Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, have made it clear publicly or privately they would wait for Sununu's decision before they made their own. Former U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta has indicated interest in a run for the Senate or for the U.S. House seat he lost last year to Democrat Carol Shea-Porter.

Others who have been mentioned as potential Republican candidates for the Senate seat are businessman and 2010 Senate candidate Bill Binnie, attorney Ovide Lamontagne, a 2010 Senate candidate and the 2012 GOP gubernatorial nominee, and conservative businessman Fred Tausch.

The other news making the rounds is the possibility that former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown would run. Brown has a vacation home in New Hampshire. 

Sununu seemed unimpressed by that thought, saying: "I haven't spoken to Scott but I got the impression he made an off-the-cuff comment. There are a number of sharp, experienced Republicans who have lived in New Hampshire for decades who would be tough for Scott to take on in a primary."

The GOP is predictably making noises about Shaheen being vulnerable. I will note that as of April 11, 2013 Charile Cook calls the race a likely Democratic keep, and that was before the strongest Republican said he wasn't going to run. 

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