The McConnell-Sununu Exposed statewide tour stopped in Dover on Thursday afternoon and local leaders from the Democratic party expressed their concerns about the fact that the governor is being wooed to run for U.S. Senate next year.

Gov. Chris Sununu has not announced a run against U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, but national leadership in the Republican party is putting pressure on him to run against her so they can take back control of the Senate in 2023.

In Dover on Thursday, the chair of the Strafford County Democrats said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has done everything he can to push Sununu to enter the race, including orchestrating millions of dollars in false ads.

"For McConnell, recruiting Sununu to run is about his own power — plain and simple. Raw, special-interest-protecting, Washington-status-quo-preserving power — for Mitch, and not for New Hampshire," Walter King said.

King said Sununu has repeatedly claimed he doesn’t want to be a U.S. Senator, but it looks as if he might fall for McConnell's power play.

"Our message is clear: McConnell’s very public wooing of Sununu has nothing to do with what’s best for New Hampshire. McConnell knows that Sununu would be another rubber stamp for his agenda and is his ticket to winning back power in DC," King said.

State Sen. David Watters, D-Dover, said Sununu has repeatedly and vocally supported McConnell's policy agenda.

"Throughout his entire tenure as Governor, Sununu has been a loyal ally of the McConnell agenda. Time and again, he has put the McConnell agenda ahead of the interests of Granite Staters. That is why McConnell wants him at his side in the Senate," Watters said.

Watters said that over the past five years, Sununu has supported McConnell’s efforts to raise taxes on middle-class families and take away access to health care.

Local activist Luz Bay talked about McConnell and Sununu's positions on women's rights to make their own health care decisions.

"In June, Sununu pushed through a budget that would ban abortion without exceptions for rape, incest, or fatal fetal anomaly and will threaten basic health care — including cancer screenings and STD testing — for Granite Staters. As a three-time breast cancer survivor, this one is particularly personal to me," Bay said.

Political spectators say Sununu's decision to pass the $13.5 billion two-year state budget with the Fetal Life Protection Act could be problematic if he does decide to run against Hassan.

On July 1, Democratic leaders gathered in Portsmouth to hold a press conference where they discussed what they called Sununu's "extreme, anti-choice budget."

How do the candidates stack up against each other?

A University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll published on Thursday has found that Sununu leads Hassan by a single percentage point when voters were asked who they would support for U.S. Senate. Sununu received 49 percent support from potential voters, while Hassan had 48 percent support.

The poll had a margin of error at plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.

Poll preparers said the 2022 New Hampshire senate race "could be a barnburner."

Pollsters also examined a match-up between Hassan and former U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH.

They found that 49 percent of people taking the survey center poll would support Hassan while 45 percent would vote for Ayotte.

Ayotte served as a U.S. Senator from 2011 to 2017. She was the attorney general of New Hampshire from 2004 to 2009.

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at

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