Text NIKKI to 23456

Nikki Haley endorsed by Sununu family, ‘America’s coolest political family’

January 12, 2024
| WMUR by Arielle Mitropoulos

After New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announced his emphatic endorsement of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley last month, his father and his brother are now following suit, both declaring their support, as she looks to move in on former President Donald Trump’s lead in New Hampshire.

“I am honored to have the support of America’s coolest political family,” Haley said in a statement obtained first by WMUR. “The Sununu’s are strong leaders who have served America and New Hampshire with honor and integrity. I’m excited to have them on the team and look forward to making history in the Live Free or Die State.”

Former Gov. John H. Sununu, who held office between 1983 and 1989, said that it is now time for a new generation of leadership.

“Nikki Haley is America’s best bet to rid ourselves of the 80-year-old wanderer in the White House, as a matter of fact, ridding us of any 80-year-old who might make it to the White House,” said former Governor John H. Sununu.

His other son, former Sen. John E. Sununu agreed, adding that “[Haley will] tackle the problems Trump failed to fix. She’ll stop the outrageous spending, fix the border and immigration, and move America forward, past the chaos.”

The Sununu family has been public and vocal in their criticism of former President Trump. During the 2016 election, Gov. John H. Sununu told ABC News that Trump has been “a loser all his life,” though he would ultimately go on to patch-up his feud and endorse him.

Prior to and following his decision not to run for the presidency, Gov. Chris Sununu has offered similar condemnation of Trump.

“Donald Trump’s the past. He’s trying to re-litigate 2020 and talk about Jan. 6 and all that sort of thing,” Gov. Chris Sununu told WMUR in an interview in June. “That Donald Trump message killed us in ’18, really hurt us in ’20.”

Following a similar political playbook to his father, ahead of the Iowa caucuses, last week, Gov. Chris Sununu traveled to Iowa with Haley to lobby voters. In 1988, Gov. John H. Sununu traveled to Iowa in support of George H.W. Bush when he was running for president.

At the time, Bush placed third in the Iowa caucuses, but by the next day, he had already shifted his focus to New Hampshire.

“I lost – now, I want to win,” Bush said, with Sununu by his side, and with the Governor’s support, Bush would go on to win the New Hampshire primary.

Although Bush would ultimately bring Gov. John H. Sununu to the White House with him, as his first Chief of Staff, Gov. Chris Sununu has dismissed questions about whether he would be open to a role in a Haley administration, and Haley told reporters in December that Sununu has informed her that he has told her “he doesn’t want anything to do with D.C.”

Although polling shows Trump holds a commanding lead in Iowa, the support Haley is receiving from the Sununu family comes as other polling shows her experiencing a swell of support in New Hampshire.

In a recent CNN poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire, Haley has slashed Trump’s lead to single digits among likely primary Republican voters in New Hampshire, with the former President standing at 39%, compared to Haley’s 32%, a just 7%, difference, compared to a 22% difference in mid-November.

However, other polls suggest that Trump’s support remains strong and far higher than his competitors. A Suffolk University, The Boston Globe, and USA Today poll, released Tuesday, found that Trump still leads with likely primary voters by nearly 20% in New Hampshire.

Sununu told WMUR’s sister station in Iowa, KCCI, last week, that he is hopeful that Haley will finish a strong second in the Hawkeye State before bringing her momentum to New Hampshire, like Bush did in 1988.

“We don’t want to set any unrealistic expectations. I think she can do it. I think it’s possible. Who knows what’s actually going to happen here? It’s the Iowa Caucus. That’s the amazing part about it. It’s all about who comes out to vote,” Sununu said.

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