Sununu predicts larger GOP field for 2024 will 'winnow down'

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May 17—CONCORD — A month before he is expected to make a decision on whether to run for president, Gov. Chris Sununu predicted a larger GOP presidential candidate field will "winnow down" this fall and admitted his biggest concern is making sure a race is right for his family and the state.

In 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump won the GOP nomination in part because more than 15 Republicans early on ran against him.

By Feb. 9 that year, the date of the first-in-the-nation primary here, some had dropped out but nine remained, Trump won in a walk with only 35% of the vote, setting him on the way to the presidency.

Sununu told reporters that history is unlikely to repeat itself and that's important since Sununu has warned Trump could lose a rematch with President Joe Biden in 2024.

"I think it gets narrowed down a lot more quickly than it did back in 2016," Sununu said. "It needs to narrow down and my guess is it will narrow into the fall."

Sununu said he would not discourage anyone from getting into the race out of concern it could help hand the nomination to Trump, however.

"I think you can't tell people not to run; whoever wants to run is going to run," Sununu said.

Sununu said his plan is to decide around mid-June, hoping by then that the battle over the state budget has concluded.

During his four successful races for governor, Sununu did not set himself apart as a fundraiser and at times Democratic nominees have outspent him.

But Sununu said the Live Free or Die Super PAC he formed has identified plenty of potential financial support if he gives a green light to the campaign.

Asked his "biggest concern" about going ahead with a campaign, Sununu said, "The state comes first and making sure that we can create the right balance."

Sununu declined to talk specifically about his travel plans should he become a candidate.

"I am not going to talk about the structure of my campaign," Sununu said. "I am still the governor, 24/7, whatever we do, the needs of the state do not go unmatched."

Sununu said he was not surprised about half of the 200 House Republicans have endorsed either Trump or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis even before he's made up his mind.

"I am surprised it is only like 100 right now," Sununu said.

Asked if he thought some of that support for Trump or DeSantis was soft and could come his way if he ran, Sununu smiled and remarked, "Something like that."