Apr 1, 2016 5:46 PM

Steinhauser: Forrester takes shot at Sununu over campaign cash

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

CONCORD – It didn’t take very long for Jeanie Forrester to go on the attack.

Two days after announcing for governor, the state senator from Meredith took a shot at Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, a rival for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.

Forrester’s the fourth Republican candidate to enter the race for the Corner Office, which is open this year thanks to Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan’s bid for U.S. Senate against Kelly Ayotte.

Besides Forrester and Sununu, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas and state Rep. Frank Edelblut are also running.

At her campaign launch Wednesday night in Meredith, Forrester said her rivals for the nomination “can talk the talk but I’ve walked the walk.”

And in a comment that appeared to be directed at Sununu, Forrester said that she “won’t be campaigning on K Street in Washington DC like some of the others. I’ll campaign in the main streets of New Hampshire.”

Asked Thursday by NH1 News if that comment was directed at any one candidate, Forrester said “no” as she laughed.

But Friday morning, Forrester took to Twitter to say “so young Chris Sununu is raising $ on K Street. If it wasn’t so serious u’d call it an April Fools joke.”

Attached to her tweet was a photo of an invitation to an April 4 fundraiser for Sununu in the nation’s capital.

Asked about the tweet, veteran Concord based GOP consultant Michael Dennehy, who’s Forrester’s top political adviser, told NH1 News “Main Street vs K Street. People are tired of the power of Washington and Jeanie Forrester will fight politics as usual in government every day.”

NH1 News reached out to Sununu, but he declined to respond to Forrester’s shot.

Last week, after word that Forrester would be jumping into the race, NH1 News asked Sununu about the increasingly large field of GOP gubernatorial candidates.

“The more the merrier. Jeannie’s a friend, Ted’s a friend. Frank’s a friend,” Sununu said.

“The more chances we get to start talking about these issues in the public and having a means, using the media frankly, and having good debates so the public can engage us and talk to us about what’s important to them, what we see as our priorities. That’s what campaigning and that’s politics is all about here in New Hampshire,” he added.

Sununu, the son of former Gov. John H. Sununu, who also served as chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush, and younger brother of former U.S. Sen. John E. Sununu, has strong connections to many in the GOP, and is considered a strong fundraiser. Gatsas and Edelblut are both quite wealthy and would be able to self-fund their campaigns if needed.

“Forrester can’t compete with all three and their cash,” said NH1 News Chief Political Correspondent Kevin Landrigan. “ How does she turn that negative into a positive? By questioning Sununu’s money and where it comes from.”

And here’s where it may get personal. In the 1980’s Forrester worked at the State House for then-Gov. Sununu. Now she’s facing off against his son for the Corner Office.


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