Former Senator Announces Run To Succeed Retiring Republican Governor


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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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Former New Hampshire GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte launched a bid for governor Monday, just days after Republican Gov. Chris Sununu announced his retirement.

Sununu, who recently ruled out a presidential bid, was first elected in 2016, and said last Wednesday that he would not seek a fifth term as governor. Ayotte, who served for one term as senator, told Fox News that her top priority as governor would be bolstering safety by imposing stricter penalties for fentanyl dealers to reduce the number of overdose deaths.

“Gov. Sununu did a great job, but there is going to be a vacuum there, and we are one election away from becoming Massachusetts in New Hampshire, and I’m not going to let that happen,” said Ayotte. “We have something very special in New Hampshire — no income [tax], no sales tax, education freedom is so important in our state. So I’m running for governor to make sure that New Hampshire remains safe, prosperous and free.”


Ayotte said she wants to protect New Hampshire from the “evil” that neighboring states like Massachusetts have, including “less freedom” with income and sales taxes. (RELATED: New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu Opts Against Presidential Run)

Prior to her time in the Senate, Ayotte served as New Hampshire’s attorney general from 2004 to 2009, according to Ballotpedia. Ayotte was overwhelmingly elected to the Senate in 2010 by over 20 points, but narrowly lost a second term in 2016 to former Democratic Governor and current Sen. Maggie Hassan 48% to 47.9%.

Ayotte will face former state Sen. Chuck Morse in the Republican primary, and the Democratic primary already has two contenders — Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and Executive Council member Cinde Warmington, according to NBC News Boston. New Hampshire is one of only two states in the country to elect its governor every two years.

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