Gov. Chris Sununu won reelection agains Democratic challenger Tom Sherman. (Courtesy)
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu won a fourth term in office Tuesday, handily defeating his Democratic opponent after a campaign centered around Sununu’s stewardship of the state’s economy.
In a speech reacting to the win Monday night, Sununu thanked voters for coming to the polls in high numbers.
“Every single vote matters and that’s what we saw today: Huge turnout,” he said. “Everyone participating in the process, which is absolutely phenomenal.”
State Sen. Tom Sherman, Sununu’s opponent, conceded the race shortly after it was called.
“While these aren’t the results that we hoped for, I’m so incredibly grateful for the support of Granite Staters who believe we need to put people above politics,” he said in a concession statement, adding: “I wish Governor Sununu well.”
In making his bid for a fourth term, Sununu highlighted cuts he and Republican lawmakers have made to business taxes throughout his six years in office, and touted the state’s high surplus as evidence that the approach was working. And he vowed to veto Democratic bills that he said would raise taxes and add regulations.
Since Sununu was first elected in 2016, New Hampshire’s coffers have been boosted in part by a tax windfall from the 2017 congressional tax cuts and in part by more than $1 billion in COVID-19 assistance provided to the state by Congress. But state business tax revenue has stayed strong despite the cuts to the tax rate, and the state’s unemployment rate has remained low.
Sherman, a practicing gastroenterologist from Rye, centered his campaign on what he said were the economic failures of the Sununu administration, and hammered the governor for his decision to sign into law a ban on abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy. He pledged to implement policies to address the state’s housing availability crisis, boost public school funding, and guide a transition toward clean energy.
But the contest was not close: The Associated Press called the race just before 9 p.m. in one of the earliest decisions of the night. The apparent wide margin of victory follows similar wins by Sununu against previous Democratic challengers, including former state senators Molly Kelly and Dan Feltes.
Should Sununu serve his full fourth term, he will tie Democratic Gov. John Lynch for the the title of longest serving governor. Lynch stepped away from the job in 2012.
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