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Governor says Senate hopeful is not serious, but backs him anyway

Why would Gov. Chris Sununu back a Senate hopeful he doesn't consider a "serious" candidate? Because for some Republicans, partisanship trumps everything.


Gov. Chris Sununu was on Fox News over the weekend, and the New Hampshire Republican seemed eager to sing the praises of his party’s U.S. Senate nominee:

“Gen. [Don] Bolduc won a tough fought primary with very, very little money — very virtually no money. And so now he’s raising money, getting some national attention. Um, he’s an amazing individual....”

On the surface, this may not seem especially notable. A GOP governor appeared on a conservative media outlet to tout his party’s home state Senate candidate, who’ll appear on the same ballot as him in six weeks. Of course Sununu is saying nice things about Bolduc.

But just below the surface, it’s not quite that simple.

Bolduc is so far to the right that he’s slammed Sununu as a “Chinese communist sympathizer” whose family business “supports terrorism.” When the governor chose not to run for the Senate, the retired brigadier general took credit, boasting, “I derailed Gov. Sununu from running for Senate.”

As recently as August, the governor suggested to New Hampshire Public Radio that he had no intention of backing Bolduc. “He’s not a serious candidate, he’s really not, and if he were the GOP nominee, I have no doubt we would have a much harder time,” Sununu said. “He’s kind of a conspiracy theorist-type candidate.”

The governor’s assessment was hardly outlandish. As we’ve discussed, the Republicans’ new U.S. Senate nominee in New Hampshire has questioned whether the FBI should still exist, does not believe Americans should elect their own senators, and ran as an enthusiastic election denier who’s said he would oppose certifying election results he disapproves of.

We also learned last week that Bolduc, as recently as August, advocated privatizing Medicare during a campaign town hall event, though a campaign spokesperson said the far-right candidate no longer agrees with the position he espoused a couple of months ago.

So why in the world is Sununu appearing on Fox News and talking up Bolduc as a credible Senate contender? Because it's an election season — and they’re both Republicans.

Rep. Liz Cheney made the case over the weekend that partisanship “has to have a limit.” I’d be eager to hear whether New Hampshire’s GOP governor agrees.