Sep 14, 2016 12:51 PM
NH1 News Political Director
CONCORD –Frank Edelblut conceded his bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and endorsed Chris Sununu for governor.
The two GOP contenders teamed up for a brief joint appearance Wednesday afternoon in front of the State House.
"I am happy, happy, to have the opportunity to vote for Chris Sununu for governor, because he is going to help us build that economy for the citizens of New Hampshire," Edelblut said.
"Thank you Frank. That was amazing. I appreciate it," said Sununu as he spoke second.
"Frank and his team ran an incredible race, an incredible race, an incredible ground game. They had a great message. So to stand here with Frank Edelblut and accept his support just means the world to me and I can’t thank him enough," Sununu added.
The event took place less than two hours after the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office released official numbers in Tuesday's GOP gubernatorial primary.
The certified numbers from the Secretary of State’s office put the three-term executive councilor and chief executive officer of the Waterville Valley Resort at 32,391 votes, with Edelblut at 31,587. The margin of 804 votes was within one percent of the total vote, which means Edlelblut could have asked for a recount, which he declined to do.
According to the officials numbers, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas finished in third place in Tuesday's primary, with 21,812 votes. State Sen. Jeanie Forrester of Meredith came in fourth, with 18,599. Jonathan Lavoie came in a distant fifth, with 1,383 votes.
Moments after the results were released, Gatsas put out a statement congratulating Sununu.
“I want to congratulate Councilor Chris Sununu on winning the Republican nomination for governor. Chris was a strong competitor and he ran a race that focused on our shared principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility,” said Gatsas, who criticized Sununu throughout the primary campaign.
“It’s time for all Republicans to unite behind Chris Sununu’s candidacy and help him win in November,” he added.
Earlier, at the New Hampshire GOP unity breakfast, Sununu told NH1 News "we'll see where the numbers fall out but we feel very very strong."
"We feel very good," he added.
Sununu will face off in November against another member of the Executive Council, Colin Van Ostern, who won 52% of the vote against two other major rivals, former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand and Mark Connolly, who served nearly a decade as the state's chief financial watchdog.
Asked about Van Ostern Wednesday morning at the New Hampshire GOP Unity Breakfast, Sununu told NH1 News "find me a politically difficult vote Colin Van Ostern has taken. It doesn't exist. He panders to exactly what Gov. (Maggie) Hassan wants, exactly what that extreme left wing liberal agenda is."
At the afternoon event, Edleblut said "we are going to defeat Colin Van Ostern in the election on Nov. 8 and he better pay attention because we’re coming."
Asked by NH1 News if his backing of Sununu was a one-day endorsement, Edelblut said "I’m going to be actively out campaigning and helping Chris through this race on Nov. 8."
The New Hampshire Democratic Party says that the narrow victory for Sununu will wound him in the general election.
"The primary was very damaging to Chris’s ability to put together a winning campaign," NHDP Chair Ray Buckley told NH1 News.
State Rep. Frank Edelblut, a GOP gubernatorial candidate, speaks Wednesday morning at the NHGOP unity breakfast
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