I guess yesterday’s post on the ARG poll testing a hypothetical contest between Paul Hodes and John E. Sununu is the last one I will be writing on that pairing, at least for the 2010 election cycle. I am honestly not surprised to learn this evening that Sununu is opting out of a run for Judd Gregg’s vacant U.S. Senate seat.  Although many Republicans thought Sununu would be their best bet against Hodes, I haven’t seen any signs from him in recent months that he was itching to get back into the electoral arena so soon after last November’s loss to Jeanne Shaheen.
It is often the case that when elected officials finally get out of the Congressional fishbowl they find that seeing their families on a daily basis and earning some big money in the private sector (Tom Daschle, anyone?) are a fairly enjoyable way to spend their time. Plus, Sununu is only in his mid-forties, so if the electoral environment swings back toward Republicans in the next five to ten years, he could gear up for a rematch against Shaheen, or perhaps even run for governor.
Although some Republicans believe there are several winning fiscal and social issues on which Sununu could run right now, the underlying electoral environment in New Hampshire hasn’t changed much since the last election, and on balance still favors Democratic candidates. And, I haven’t seen much evidence that the state Republican Party is revamping itself in any significant way, in order to address this circumstance. If Obama struggles in the coming months, that could help their case, but I’m sure Sununu knows it would be a long, tough, and expensive campaign in any event. So, while I don’t necessarily think we’ve seen John E. Sununu seek public office for the last time, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to any local political observer that he is taking a pass on 2010.
Where does that leave the Republicans on this seat? I think if Kelly Ayotte commits to the race, there will be intense pressure from some in the party to clear the field, in order to avoid having her get scuffed up in a primary fight. But we’ve heard rumblings from Charlie Bass, Ovid Lamontagne, and others considering jumping into the race that they are ready for some competition. In the meantime, the folks over at Hodes-central, who one would never accuse of lacking in confidence, still must be breathing a small sigh of relief tonight. Hodes can move forward efficiently with a unified party behind him, while Republicans continue to sort out their future in the coming months.


Posted On: 07-02-2009 15:16:46 by Anonymous
A poll cannot predict anything by definition. Humans are far more complex and infinitely less predictable than the opinion makers would have you believe. For this reason I think polling is near worthless. I don't intend to completely dismiss polling data. However, the growth of third-party membership and the decline of those participating in both telephone surveys and voting in elections suggest that the pickings are getting slimmer and slimmer for pollsters. To put any faith in them 16 months prior to the general election is unrealistic. To use them as a means of predicting the outcome of the general election? Completely absurd.

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