By: José Niño
New Hampshire Republicans had strong performances at the state level during this year’s election.
The tone was set on election night when Republican Gov. Chris Sununu won a third term in a resounding manner against his Democrat opponent Dan Feltes. Sununu defeated his Democrat rival 65.2 percent to 33.4 percent.
But it wasn’t just the executive branch that saw Republicans gain victories; Republicans flipped the House of Representatives, Senate, and Executive Council that same night. Heading into the election, Democrats held majorities in the Senate (14-10), House (230-157), and the Executive Council (3-2). That all changed, however, on November 3, 2020. Republicans now hold a 14-10 majority in the Senate, 213-187 majority in the House, and 4-1 in the Executive Council.
This “red wave” is, of course, a contrast to the federal level, where Democrat Jeanne Shaheen won her Senate race against Republican rival Corky Messner, 56.7 to 41 percent.
On November 4, Sununu thanked his fellow voters for re-electing him and flipping the New Hampshire General Court to Republican control, stating, “I am pleased that Granite State voters rejected the DC-style politics that had crept into the State House these last two years. I am excited to get to work with our new Republican majorities to deliver results for the people of this state.”
Under Sununu’s watch, the "Live Free or Die" state has been a pro-Second Amendment bastion. In his first term in office, Sununu passed constitutional carry — a bill repealing the requirement for state residents to have a license to carry a concealed handgun for the purposes of self-defense — in 2017. Prior to this bill’s passage, open carrying a handgun without permit was legal in New Hampshire. Senate Bill 12, New Hampshire’s constitutional carry bill, extended this same principle to the concealed carry of handguns.
New Hampshire Democrats were fuming after this bill passed and vowed to get revenge after their successful wave election in 2018, during which they flipped the New Hampshire House of Representatives and the State Senate. After taking power, Democrats introduced bills that would have expanded background checks, enacted three-day waiting periods on gun purchases, and prohibited the carry of a firearm on school property with the aim of self-defense. In each of these cases, Sununu exercised his veto power and killed these gun control bills.
New Hampshire has traditionally been one of America’s most pro-gun states. Gun culture is well-ingrained in the state, and the GOP was wise to recognize that under Sununu’s leadership. For going out of their way to expand and defend gun rights, gun owners resoundingly voted for New Hampshire Republicans in the 2020 election cycle.
Although federally New Hampshire went blue, grassroots voters made sure to deny Democrat elites a blue wave at the state level. Establishment politicians must recognize that when the grassroots is activated, their anti-freedom plots can be foiled.
José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.
Photo from Facebook.