‘Step Aside’: GOP Gov From Key Early State Pledges To Help Narrow Primary Field, Endorse Trump Alternative

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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New Hampshire’s Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, a frequent critic of former President Donald Trump, pledged Monday to help narrow the 2024 GOP presidential field and make an endorsement in the primary.

Sununu, who ruled out a run for president and reelection, argued the only way to beat the former president in the primary is for longshot candidates to “step aside” after the first two debates, he wrote in a New York Times opinion piece. As the governor of the second state to hold its nominating contest for 2024, Sununu said he’ll back a Trump alternative for president, and made note of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.

“As governor of the first-in-the-nation primary state, I will do everything I can to help narrow the field,” Sununu wrote. “I plan to endorse and campaign for the best alternative to Mr. Trump. As of now, it’s anyone’s for the taking.” (RELATED: Governor Of Early Primary State Teases Endorsement Of Longshot GOP Presidential Hopeful)

Any candidate who doesn’t meet the Republican National Committee’s (RNC’s) criteria to make the first two GOP primary debates should drop out, Sununu wrote. The governor then argued that GOP hopefuls who are in the “low single digits” by the end of the year should also withdraw, and that the field must have shrunk to three or four contenders before the New Hampshire primary.

While Trump is leading by double digits in the polls, there is still a lot of time for other GOP hopefuls to emerge, wrote Sununu. The governor also insisted the Republican candidates must not be afraid of attacking the former president at the upcoming debates.

The RealClearPolitics (RCP) average for a 2024 national Republican primary, based on polls conducted between Aug. 10 and Aug. 20, suggests Trump is leading the crowded field by over 40 points, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with 14.9%, conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy with 7% and former Vice President Mike Pence with 4.4%.

“If Mr. Trump is the Republican nominee for president in 2024, Republicans will lose up and down the ballot,” Sununu wrote. “Every candidate with an (R) next to their name, from school board to the statehouse, will be left to answer for the electoral albatross at the top of the ticket.”

The governor pointed to a recent AP/NORC survey from Aug. 16 that indicated roughly two-thirds of American adults do not want to see Trump to run for reelection in 2024.

Sununu previously teased an endorsement for North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who he said on Aug. 1 was “on the top of the list.” The New Hampshire governor commended Burgum for how he’s campaigning in the key early primary state, and argued that Washington, D.C., “is killing for a small state governor right now.”

Trump did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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