Not all Republicans are impressed with Donald Trump. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu bashed the former president, blaming him for the party’s losses in special elections and local elections this year.
“Republican school board members… have lost their seats because they felt like they had to constantly answer for being a Trump Republican,” Sununu said of races in his state during an appearance on Sunday’s Meet the Press.
“I’ve looked at all the special elections this year,” Chuck Todd said to Sununu. “Democrats are over performing anywhere. You’ve seen in your home state, where some Democrats have won special elections that normally Republicans win. Is this due to abortion? Is this due to Trump? What do you think it’s about?”
“It’s about the former president more than anything and I can tell you I’ve had… Republican school board members that have lost their seats because they felt like they had to constantly answer for being a Trump Republican and all of that,” Sununu responded. “It’s a negative brand. It puts a lot of hesitation. So, it isn’t just the federal seats. It’s the governorships, the school boards, the congressional seats — all of them — especially here in a place like New Hampshire where we can kind of go back and forth. We’re very independent minded.”
The governor added, “The Trump brand just doesn’t work. It really doesn’t. And so, to kind of clear that off the table once and for all, is a huge opportunity for Republicans to get back elected officials where the policy matters most and that’s at the local level.”
When Todd asked Sununu about the recent poll numbers that show Trump is expanding his lead nationally, the governor said, “I’m surprised by those numbers. I am. Look, nationally the polls are very different than what we’re seeing where the conversation’s really happening. I appreciate we’ve had one debate nationally. I think that’s a very important step.”
Sununu continued, “But look at Iowa. Look at New Hampshire, where the candidates are on the ground making their case as strong as they can. Those poll numbers are very, very different, right? Trump is in, like, the 42 percent range. And Trump has a floor of maybe 35 percent. But he also has a ceiling. Ultimately, he probably has a ceiling of somewhere in the high forties because over a third of his supporters have said they would happily go to another candidate. They just need more time to look at them.”
But even most New Hampshire polls still place Trump at least 20 points ahead of his nearest competitor.
Todd also asked the governor about whether Trump will appear on the ballot in his state, considering efforts by some of the former president’s opponents to disqualify him from the race based on the 14th Amendment’s restriction against anyone holding office who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the [United States], or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
Sununu was skeptical that this movement could change the ballot. “If Donald Trump follows the rules like everybody else in and, you know, signs up like everybody else — that’s the beauty of the New Hampshire first-in-the-nation primary process. It’s a very open, very easy process for a lot of folks to partake in, and so I see no reason why he wouldn’t be on that ballot,” Sununu said.
Trump is using these 14th amendment challenges as a way of engaging his base. According to NBC News, Trump sent an email to his supporters Sunday morning calling out “traitorous ‘Republicans’” behind the efforts to remove him from the ballot.