New Hampshire’s trees aren’t the only things in the state going through seasonal changes. Many are eagerly anticipating a decrease in the national visibility of Gov. Chris Sununu, R-N.H.
His frequent media presence is, for many, a season that has overstayed its welcome.
Which brings to light an intriguing question: For someone so fond of offering national candidates unsolicited advice, why does Sununu's actual governance in New Hampshire reveal a less than stellar record?
Indeed, when you compare his advice to GOP presidential contenders against his own achievements, a glaring discrepancy emerges.
Sununu’s self-deception, most notably on display in a recent op-ed, paints a picture of a chief executive deeply convinced of his outsized influence. He believes his role as governor of the "first-in-the-nation primary state" gives him a unique platform to shape the GOP’s 2024 nominating process.
However, this narrative hits a snag when one considers that outside of New Hampshire, Sununu's national recognition is rather limited.
Interestingly, in the same op-ed, Sununu also took veiled jabs at fellow GOP figures, hinting at their "vanity campaigns" and book deals. This from a governor whose media ubiquity often borders on vanity itself.
It's quite something for him to speak of pride and arrogance when such candidates for president, most with arguably more national relevance, have opted to put their records on full display in the court of public opinion.
Sununu’s policies, though touted with confidence, don’t always resonate as he might hope.
Delving deeper into his governorship, several glaring issues come to light. Chief among these is his fervent championing of right-to-work legislation.
Launched with much fanfare as a cornerstone of his 2017 policy framework, it faced rejection twice, even from GOP-majority chambers. It's telling when a governor struggles to gain traction for a key policy within his party's own ranks.
Business rankings are another sore point when it comes to Sununu’s record.
New Hampshire's rapid descent to a dismal 40th on CNBC’s “Best States for Business” list is alarming. It's a stark departure from its once-coveted position as a top destination for businesses.
Additionally, the drug crisis presents yet another troubling chapter in Sununu's leadership narrative. 2022 bore witness to the highest number of overdose deaths in New Hampshire since 2017, with a tragic tally of 434.
For a governor who prides himself on his hands-on approach and candidness, these numbers are a scathing indictment.
Sununu’s political calculations have also raised eyebrows. His redistricting strategy, where he rejected his party's proposal for congressional maps in the hopes of promoting competitive districts, remains a conundrum.
While there's merit in fostering spirited politics, it's perplexing that he'd cede ground in a practice that's widely utilized to consolidate party influence across the U.S.
Sununu's decision to sidestep the 2024 presidential race is intriguing. Is it truly an altruistic move, as he suggests, prioritizing the greater GOP good over personal ambition?
Or is it an acknowledgment, albeit unspoken, of the numerous challenges and blemishes marring his gubernatorial tenure? Would he really fare that well in the national limelight, where the scrutiny is far more intense than in New Hampshire's local politics?
Still, the crux of Sununu’s leadership challenges is his crisis management style.
New Hampshire confronts issues ranging from a drug epidemic to declining business appeal. The state demands transformative solutions, not just reactive measures.
Only time will tell if Sununu rises to address these challenges before the end of his term.
Sununu realized early on the 2024 GOP nomination was never going to be his. Though elected four times as New Hampshire's governor, an impressive accomplishment, his tenure has been patchy.
According to the RealClearPolitics average, former President Donald Trump leads in the Granite State by a staggering 31 points. And that lead is only expanding.
Rather than discouraging Trump’s ascendance, Sununu’s endless commentary, and perhaps his presence, might inadvertently be bolstering it.
In closing, perhaps Sununu's decision to sidestep the 2024 presidential race was for the best.
But as he continues to offer his "guidance" to GOP presidential candidates, they might remember to take it with a grain of salt. Like his state’s iconic leaves, Sununu’s time on the national stage is nearing its natural conclusion.
Jacob Lane is a Republican strategist and school choice activist. He has worked for GOP campaigns at the federal, state and local levels, as well as with various PACs and nonprofits. Read Jacob Lane's Reports — More Here.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.