It's an unprecedented power struggle at the State House in Concord, New Hampshire, as Republican Gov. Chris Sununu faces a Democrat-controlled House and Senate in the Granite State. Sununu, who won a second term on Tuesday, said he is ready for the challenge.
“I guess I am just excited to get back to work,” he told NBC10 Boston in an interview just hours after he claimed victory in the midterm elections.
It may be back to work for the second-term governor, but it's not business as usual.
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“The Democrats now control the house and the Senate, but we’re a purple state. That’s the way it is,” Sununu said.
Granite Staters went to the polls in record numbers, electing Democrats to take over the house and senate while putting a Republican back in the corner office.
“New Hampshire voters don’t look at party affiliation,” said New Hampshire Political Analyst Scott Spradling. “They don’t traditionally vote a straight ticket, they like to see the measure of a candidate and what are you going to do for them.”
Sununu says he won’t be pushed around, but he’s also prepared to sharpen his negotiation skills and work across the aisle.
“I’m a believer that if you can work it out ahead of time, there’s a compromise going forward,” Sununu said.
The new power struggle at the state level is similar to that in Washington.
“President Trump lost the majority of the U.S. House so he now has to figure out how to play well in the sandbox to get anything done,” Spradling said.
But that’s something that Representative Steve Shurtleff, a Democrat, says is already happening in Concord.
“About 80 to 90 percent of the bills that are passed are done in a bipartisan manner,” Shurtleff told NCB10 Boston Wednesday. “We work together for the common good of the state.”
And Sununu agrees, saying Granite Staters could show D.C. how it’s done.
“Positive leadership, collaboration, working together,” Sununu said. “It’s how we do it here, we’re going to set that example, and hold people accountable to that.”
Sununu says he fully expects some tough fights but promises to keep things cordial at the State House.