Chris Sununu, the GOP governor of New Hampshire, made his most important move toward a White House run to date. He did this by forming a national political group that is a favorite tool for future presidential contenders testing the waters.
The governor initially acknowledged to NBC News on Wednesday that he established the “Live Free or Die” group.
This is a 501(c)(4) entity that allows politicians to raise limitless sums. Donations are not required to be disclosed; potential candidates frequently use these political charities to gauge donor interest.
SCOOP: New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu launches the “Live Free or Die” committee, allowing him to raise unlimited $$$, in his most concrete step yet in a potential run for president. @jonallendc & me https://t.co/tjx3w0Mfum
— Natasha Korecki (@natashakorecki) February 8, 2023
Declaring His Candidacy?
The move comes after Sununu publicly hinted for weeks that he would enter the Republican primary. It formally begins in his home state, giving him immediate name recognition and familiarity.
In forming this committee, Sununu joins erstwhile U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and ex-Vice President Mike Pence. Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley is largely anticipated to declare her candidacy for president next week.
As per his office, Sununu will visit Washington from February 8-12 for the National Governors Association winter conference, where he is expected to discuss committee-related work.
His new organization is a collaboration with Republican political consultant Brian McCabe and the DCI Group in Washington.
New Hampshire Gov (and possible 2024 presidential candidate) Chris Sununu tells @WMUR9 the launch of his Live Free or Die 501(c)(4) committee is to be able to travel the country talking about the #NH model
We asked him if it's the next step of a potential run #WMUR pic.twitter.com/XzbTSbf3eP
— Steve Bottari (@WMURSteve) February 9, 2023
In a subsequent interview with NBC News, Sununu cast doubt on both Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaigns.
Sununu stated he did not believe Trump could defeat President Joe Biden in a 2024 battle and he deemed DeSantis’ governing style to be too dictatorial if applied to the national level.
According to New Hampshire political consultants, the media-friendly Sununu, who was recently voted to his fourth two-year tenure, could operate in a different manner than Trump and DeSantis.
Both have focused a significant portion of their campaigns on cultural wars.
Chances and Support
Renee Plummer, a formerly key GOP insider in New Hampshire who now identifies as a nonpartisan, stated the following:
“Chris can do that really effectively, and he’s proven it. Chris is amazing on camera. He has that certain ‘it’ factor that you want. He has no issue with those who dislike him. He is a suitable candidate. I don’t believe it’s possible to learn what Chris Sununu has – he’s a natural.”
According to a spokesperson, the Live Free or Die group is “committed to promoting New Hampshire’s Live Free or Die Spirit, prioritizing conservative ideals, and shaping the national discussion in order to lead, engage, and motivate the next generation of Americans.”
In recent years, 501(c)(4) organizations, so-called because of their location in the tax code, have become more prevalent among presidential candidates.
Pence, who is also publicly considering a presidential candidacy in 2024, founded Advancing American Freedom two years ago; other potential GOP candidates have since followed suit.
These nonprofit organizations, which critics refer to as “dark money” committees, are permitted to engage actively in politics, even supporting candidates, without disclosing their contributors.
They run the risk of losing their tax-exempt status if their actions are primarily political, a criterion that is difficult to define.This article appeared in The Political Globe and has been published here with permission.