New Hampshire Gov. has a message. Chris Sununu for some of the GOP presidential candidates they may not want to hear.
“If you don’t do the first couple of debates, you probably have to have a tough conversation and leave the race,” the popular Republican governor emphasized in a recent interview with Fox News Digital.
Nearly half a dozen GOP White House candidates failed to meet the thresholds mandated by the Republican National Committee (RNC) to qualify for the first debate. One of them, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, suspended his campaign after failing on stage.
The next debate is the FOX Business-hosted showdown set for Sept. 27 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
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Seven candidates have reached the RNC’s poll and donor thresholds (in alphabetical order): former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, and former President Donald Trump.
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Sununu, a vocal critic of the GOP Trump who seriously considered his own presidential run before deciding against it in June, is considering a smaller field by the end of the year, before the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, the first two contests on the Republican nomination calendar.
“The field is getting bolder,” Sununu highlighted. “I think by the time you get to the end of December, you’re going to have five or six different candidates going to Iowa, maybe three or four going to New Hampshire. If that’s the case, it’s a big opportunity for the Republican Party .”
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One of the candidates who missed the stage in the first debate and is trying to meet the qualifying criteria for the second showdown is former Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, a one-time clandestine agent for the CIA whom Sununu praised.
“We are working hard to meet those requirements,” Hurd told Fox News last week.
Asked what comes next if he doesn’t do the upcoming debates, Hurd replied, “I think the governor of New Hampshire said it best. If you don’t have momentum in the winter, it’s time to start getting together. And I think that’s smart advice. My focus now is to meet those requirements to get to the second round of the debate, and then we’ll go from there.”
With just over four months to go before the first votes in the GOP presidential nominating race, Trump remains ahead in the latest polls as he hovers between 50%-60% support in most national surveys, which is ahead of other surveys. the farm.
Trump’s lead over his rivals in polls in Iowa and New Hampshire is smaller — though still very formidable.
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But Sununu said the race in his home state is “wide open and will remain wide open in New Hampshire for quite some time.”
“If I’m Donald Trump — a former sitting president — and I barely get 50% of my own Republican Party, that’s a problem. Those are some of the worst poll numbers of any sitting or former president in history trying another run to the office,” Sununu argued. “So it’s a big opportunity for the Republican Party to reinvigorate, find another one of these candidates.”
Sununu said he would endorse one of the Republican presidential candidates ahead of the New Hampshire primary. And he’s working with many of the GOP’s opponents as they make the rounds in the Granite State.
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Asked where an endorsement stands now, the governor responded, “I have no idea who I’m going to endorse, and I don’t think my endorsement means much. Honestly, I think it’s a little overrated . In a place like New Hampshire, people make up their own minds and make up their own minds. They’re really committed to the candidates. They’re asking the right questions.”
But Sununu added that “when something strikes my fancy… I’ll let everybody know.”
Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more in our Fox News Digital election hub.