DemDaily: The 2024 Governors Races: New Hampshire

February 22, 2024

Of the 11 gubernatorial elections up in 2024, the most competitive is New Hampshire, where four-term Republican Governor Chris Sununu is retiring -- offering Democrats hope of regaining control of the governorship.

Along with Vermont, the race is one of two Republican-held gubernatorials up for election this year in a state Joe Biden won in the 2020 presidential election. New Hampshire and Vermont are also the only two states where Governors serve two years, as opposed to the standard four. Neither state imposes term limits.

The 2024 Governors Races: Republicans are defending eight of the 11 gubernatorial elections up in 2024 including Montana, Utah, and Vermont, and open seats in Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota and West Virginia. Democrats are defending three open seats in Delaware, North Carolina and Washington. Gubernatorial elections will also be held in the territories of American Samoa and Puerto Rico.

Although New Hampshire has voted Democratic in all but one presidential election (2000 Bush v. Gore by 1.27%) since 1992, the battleground state is one of 10 that have split partisan control between legislative chambers and the governor's office.

While Joe Biden won New Hampshire by just over 7% in 2020, state Republicans flipped control of the New Hampshire General Court -- now holding the Senate by a 14–10 majority and the House by a narrow margin of 198 Republicans, 195 Democrats, three independents and four vacancies.

On the federal level, Democrats hold both Senate seats (Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan) and both congressional seats (Chris Pappas and Annie Kuster).

Sununu was first elected by Granite State voters in 2016 with 49% and was last reelected in 2022 with 57%. Within a week of his July 19, 2023 retirement announcement, a host of candidates from both parties jumped into what is now a field of five contenders.

Former one-term US Senator Kelly Ayotte, who was unseated by then-Governor Maggie Hassan by less than 800 votes in 2016, is leading the fundraising race. She announced a haul of $2.74 million and more than $2.34 million cash on hand in the campaign's December 6 finance report.

Ayotte has been endorsed by former Senator Judd Gregg, New Hampshire House Majority Leader Jason Osborne and two dozen state legislators.

Former New Hampshire Senate President Chuck Morse, who is also vying for the GOP nomination, reported collecting $902,000 in the same period with over $850,000 cash on hand. Morse was a candidate for the US Senate in 2022, coming in second with 35.8% to GOP nominee and former US Army General Donald Bolduc's 37.1% among an 11-candidate field. Morse raised $4.7 million in the 2022 Senate primary.

New Hampshire Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington and former Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig are vying for the Democratic nomination and the support of a split establishment. Former Newmarket Town Councilor Jon Kiper is also in the race.

Craig has so far topped the fundraising, collecting $1.26 million as of the December filing, with $968,000 on hand. She has the endorsement of Maura Healey, Governor of neighboring Massachusetts, as well as former New Hampshire Governor John Lynch (2005–2013), 10 current and former state senators, and 69 current and former New Hampshire state representatives.

Craig also has the backing of the New Hampshire Building and Construction Trades Council, and local affiliates of the American Federation of Teachers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Warmington had raised $1.05 million with $689,000 cash on hand as of the December filing. She has the endorsement of former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, former New Hampshire Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, and a number of state legislators and local officials.

The primary is September 10.

Of the 50 US states, Democrats hold 23 gubernatorial seats to Republicans' 27. Of the five US territories, four are held by Democrats and one by an Independent.

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Ballotpedia, Politico, NHPR, SOS

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