New Hamsphire Gov.-elect Chris Sununu snaps a selfie with Vermont Gov.-elect Phil Scott at the Republican Governors Association annual conference, on Nov. 15, 2016 in Orlando, Florida

Nov 15, 2016 4:28 PM

Sununu tells NH1 News RGA conference great place to 'trade ideas'; describes meeting with Pence

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – Chris Sununu says the Republican Governors Association’s annual conference is a great place to talk with incumbent GOP governors and “trade ideas about what’s worked in their states and what’s important in our state.”

New Hampshire’s governor-elect spoke with NH1 News on his second day in Orlando, Florida, where he’s attending the RGA gathering of incumbent and newly elected GOP governors.

Sununu defeated fellow executive councilor and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Colin Van Ostern last week to become the first Republican elected governor in New Hampshire in 14 years. Sununu edged out Van Ostern by slightly more than 16,000 votes out of around 725,000 cast.

Sununu shared that “the conference is a great opportunity to meet the new governors… and to reestablish myself with the ones that I know.”

“It’s a really great team of governors on the Republican side. They’re all incredibly supportive. They understand by staying together as a team, working together, they’ve been able to achieve not just 31 Republican governors in the last election, but now they’ve bumped it up 33, maybe even 34, depending on what happens. So it’s a great team. They’re very fluid with their ideas,” Sununu said.

“I’ve come to a couple of these conferences before as a candidate so I’ve gotten to know these folks, Gov. Walker, Gov. Kasich, who supported me, which was huge in my race. To see a lot of these folks that have been supportive and that I’ve already established a relationship with was great,” he added.

The GOP won six of the 12 governorships up for grabs last week, with the Democrats victorious in five contests. The gubernatorial election in North Carolina has yet to be called.

According to RGA communications director Jon Thomson, the organization spent over $5.5 million “in the effort to elect Chris Sununu as governor,” which included a multi-million dollar statewide TV ad campaign, a digital ad campaign, and direct mail.

Sununu meets with Pence

The Republican governors were joined Monday evening by Vice President-elect and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

“He came down and sat with us in some private meetings yesterday and really helped lay out what we can expect from the administration in terms of philosophy, how they’re going to approach the states,” Sununu shared.

Sununu’s being accompanied on his trip to the RGA conference by campaign manager Paul Collins, who along with fellow Republican strategist Jamie Burnett, is leading the governor-elect's transition team. On Tuesday, Sununu announced that Charlie Arlinghaus would join his team to manage the state budget through the transition. Arlinghaus is the president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, New Hampshire’s free market think tank. Arlinghaus is a well-known Granite State voice on fiscal policy.

“There’s a couple of other people that we’ll announce as part of that transition,” Sununu told NH1 News.

Asked when he’ll start announcing appointments to his upcoming administration, the governor-elect said “sometime between now and Christmas we’ll start laying out exactly who will be in the full time team and in our administration going forward.”

Gov.-elect Chris Sununu joins fellow newly elected GOP governors at the Republican Governors Association annual conference, on Nov. 15, 2016 in Orlando, Florida

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