New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu on Sunday said he “fully expects” former President Donald Trump to be on his state’s ballot in 2024 even as some Trump opponents weigh legal challenges in an effort to disqualify Trump from running for office.
An effort championed by some conservative and liberal Trump opponents seeks to use a little-known provision in the 14th Amendment to stop Trump’s potential return to the White House. The provision disqualifies people who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding public office, and some are prepared to challenge Trump's ballot status on those grounds in states across the country, including New Hampshire.
During an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd asked Sununu, who governs the state with the first primary and the second contest in the 2024 Republican nominating process, whether the debate on using the 14th Amendment could potentially have an impact on whether Trump appears on the ballot.
Todd asked: “Do you expect to have to see this litigated before Donald Trump’s on the New Hampshire ballot?”
Sununu dismissed the possibility: “No, Donald Trump’s gonna — 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.
The governor said if someone wants to try to litigate the 14th Amendment in the state, “it’s not really a New Hampshire issue.”
“They’re litigating it against the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and therefore would be applicable to all 50 states,” he said. “So no, I fully expect that the former president to be on our ballots.”
Trump, meanwhile, is raising money off the potential 14th Amendment cases, emailing supporters Sunday morning to criticize "traitorous 'Republicans'" for considering such challenges.
Asked whether he is concerned more about four more years of President Joe Biden or Trump, Sununu, who considered a presidential campaign himself before deciding not to run, replied: “To be honest, what concerns me more is that if we just fall in to having both of them back on the ticket.
“This is not what America wants. It doesn’t mean our primary system is broken,” he said. “It means more of us have to be engaged in the system to make sure that our voices are heard as the 70% of Americans who always want to look forward. With Biden and Trump, all you’re doing is looking backwards and relitigating a lot of drama.”
Sununu has previously warned fellow Republicans that the party will lose “up and down the ballot” in 2024 if Trump is the nominee, and Todd also asked him why most GOP presidential candidates haven’t directly taken aim at the former president like he and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp have.
Sununu first praised Kemp for being “spot on” this week, when he rejected calls from several far-right state lawmakers for a special legislative session to potentially impeach Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, following the indictments of Trump and 18 co-defendants on felony charges as part of her sweeping investigation into their efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Sununu then argued that “you don’t have to make it personal” when calling out Trump.
“I’m not saying other candidates do that. I mean, when you’re running for president against the former president, it’s a very odd dynamic to be sure,” he said. “The key to taking on, not just taking on Trump, but you just call the balls and strikes like you see him, you don’t make things personal. You do things that are clearly in the best interest of the constituents you serve, regardless of party.”