Former Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte launches campaign for NH governor

Former Republican New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte officially launched her campaign for governor on Monday morning.

“I’m running for Governor because New Hampshire is one election away from becoming Massachusetts — from becoming something we are not,” she said in an email announcement. “I was born here and raised here. I raised my kids here, and you know what? I am going to die here because this state and it’s people are different. What we have here is worth fighting for.”

Her announcement comes less than a week after incumbent GOP Gov. Chris Sununu announced that he would not seek a fifth term in 2024. He hasn’t said what he plans to do next in his career.

In her announcement, Ayotte thanked Sununu and his wife Valerie “for their dedicated service to New Hampshire over the past seven years,” adding that “Governor Sununu is an excellent leader who has worked hard to defend our Live Free or Die values and improve New Hampshire’s quality of life.”

Ayotte served as one of New Hampshire’s two U.S. Senators from 2011 to 2017, when she was defeated by Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan.

Among her priorities as governor, Ayotte said, would be to stand up for New Hampshire law enforcement officers and put drug dealers and violent criminals in jail. Prior to her time in the Senate, Ayotte served as New Hampshire Attorney General from 2004 to 2009.

She also said she will ensure that the state never implements an income or sales tax, look to reduce energy costs, and fight for “universal education freedom” and work to recruit “more great teachers to our state.”

Within minutes of Ayotte’s announcement, the New Hampshire Democratic Party issued a statement labeling her as “an anti-abortion extremist who would bring the destructive DC Republican style of politics to Concord.”

“We have no doubt she’ll use her fat cat corporate pals to try and buy this election, and every confidence she will fail spectacularly,” the statement continued. “Granite Staters are looking for fresh, forward thinking leadership, and have zero interest in electing an anti-abortion extremist like Kelly Ayotte.”

Other candidates already in the race for governor include Republican Chuck Morse, the former president of the New Hampshire State Senate who lsot the party’s U.S. Senate primary to Don Bolduc in 2022. Bolduc went on to lose to Hassan.

Two weeks ago, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, a Democrat, declared her candidacy for governor.

Cinde Warmington, a New Hampshire executive councilor and health care advocate, has also announced that she will seek the Democratic nomination.

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