Campaign Countdown: Meet the candidates for NH governor

Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 5:31 PM EDT
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WEST LEBANON, N.H. (WCAX) - Like races across the country, rising costs are among the issues that are front and center in the race for New Hampshire’s next governor. But for this contest, it’s not so much a referendum on the Biden administration, but rather, the three-term incumbent.

“I’m not asking people to vote for me on platitudes or hopes and wishes. I just ask folks to look at our record of success,” said Governor Chris Sununu, R-New Hampshire.

Sununu attributes New Hampshire’s success over the last six years to fiscal responsibility, cutting taxes, and providing more flexibility for state-run programs. He’s seeking a fourth term because he says more work needs to be done. But his opponent, state Senator Tom Sherman, D-District 24, is asking one simple question -- are Granite Staters better off since Sununu took office?

“When we look at virtually every single issue, the governor has not successfully addressed them,” Sherman said, “You are having to pay property taxes that are skyrocketing, you are having to pay energy costs like electric rates that have doubled under Sununu,” Sherman said.

The Democrat, who is a doctor by trade, attributes higher energy costs to New Hampshire’s lack of renewable energy in its portfolio.

Sununu, who supported efforts to bring hydro power from Canada, says energy diversification takes time. “So you want to transition but that doesn’t mean you cut yourself off from the fuel source that folks rely on,” he said. As for property taxes, Sununu says his administration is working to lower them. “Property taxes have increased less in my administration than any previous administration because we send so much money back to cities and towns to offset their costs.”

But Sherman says long-term solutions are needed to reign in rising costs, which includes eliminating tax breaks to out-of-state corporations. “We have to think beyond the Band-Aid, and as a physician, I always think beyond the Band-Aid. I think about the underlying causes to problems,” Sherman said. But fiscal issues are not his only concern. He says women’s rights are under attack in New Hampshire. “The majority of New Hampshire residents don’t believe in the Live Free or Die state, that the legislature should be getting into the doctor’s office.”

A new law banning abortions after 24 weeks went into effect in the Granite State back in January. Sununu, who calls himself “pro-choice,” signed the legislation as part of a two-year budget bill. It includes potential criminal penalties for doctors. “Are there more flexibilities? I think there should be exceptions for rape and incest, I think you should never be criminalizing a doctor. My opponent agrees on this stuff, frankly, very much in line frankly,” Sununu said.

But Sununu also says Granite Staters are more concerned about issues like inflation and says his popularity is due to voters knowing exactly where he stands. “Look, I just try to be genuine. I think people over think being a politician and politics. Here’s the secret -- be normal. That’s it, these are the ABC’s of me. I don’t change who I am,” he said.

Sherman says change is what the state needs. “It’s all about respecting people and recognizing that people are more important than politics,” he said.

Two libertarian candidates will also appear on the ballot Tuesday. But it’s the undeclared voters. the state’s largest voting block, who will ultimately end up deciding the winner.

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