They sure know now (with McConnell adviser Josh Holmes responding to the Sununu news by tweeting, “Unbelievable”), and it will be up to Team Red to find a new candidate to take on Hassan. However, while the senator will avoid going up against Sununu—who won reelection 65-33 even as Joe Biden was taking New Hampshire 53-45—she’ll still be a top GOP target in a state that can swing wildly from cycle to cycle. There are plenty of Granite State politicians who may now take a look, including some politicians who may have campaigned for governor if he’d decided to take on Hassan.
The only notable Republican currently running for Senate is retired Army Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, who got into the race a year ago at a time when Sununu all but froze the party’s field, but he’s unlikely to scare anyone off: Bolduc lost the 2020 primary for the Granite State’s other Senate seat 50-42, and he ended September with a mere $58,000 in the bank.
One person who seems uninterested, though, is Scott Brown, the former Massachusetts senator who moved north to unsuccessfully run for the Senate in 2014. Brown said he was focused on helping his wife, Gail Huff Brown, win the 1st Congressional District, and said of another Senate run, “I don’t think so unless something traumatic happens.” (We have no idea what Brown considers “traumatic” for this race.)
Sununu, for his part, will likely be the clear favorite to win a fourth term as governor. A recent Saint Anselm College poll gave him a 56-42 job approval, which, while considerably smaller than his 64-34 score back in August, still puts him well above water. No notable Democrats have launched a campaign for governor yet, though it’s unlikely Team Blue will give him a free pass, especially if more polls show his numbers in decline.