Until late last year, New Hampshire’s Republican Gov. Chris Sununu was widely expected to run for the U.S. Senate, taking on Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan. Instead, he opted to seek a fourth two-year term as governor, dealing a major blow to Republicans who had hoped he could help them retake control of the Senate.

Although he faced intense pressure to run for the Senate, Sununu insists he can have a bigger and more direct impact as governor than as a senator. And despite efforts by Trump’s former campaign manager to recruit a challenger, none of the other five Republicans on the ballot Tuesday poses a serious threat.

Democratic state Sen. Tom Sherman is running unopposed for his party’s nomination for governor.

REPUBLICANS’ SCRAMBLE FOR U.S. SENATE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

With Sununu out of the running, a crowd of 11 candidates stepped forward to seek the GOP Senate nomination, including state Senate President Chuck Morse, former Londonderry town manager Kevin Smith and cryptocurrency entrepreneur Bruce Fenton. But retired Army Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, who lost the GOP primary for New Hampshire’s other Senate seat in 2020, quickly emerged as the front-runner via dogged grassroots campaigning to compensate for his lack of cash.

That has made establishment Republicans nervous, with Sununu calling Bolduc “not a serious candidate” and a conspiracy theorist. Sununu issued a last-minute endorsement for Morse.

Democratic groups, meanwhile, have put up ads promoting Bolduc, hoping he’ll be an easy opponent for Hassan in November.

Hassan, seeking a second term in the battleground state, faces two virtually unknown challengers on the Democratic side. Although Democrats hold all four of New Hampshire’s congressional seats, Republicans control the state Legislature, and Hassan’s 2016 win was a narrow one.

GOP EYES 2 CONGRESSIONAL SEATS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

Many expected major changes in New Hampshire’s two congressional districts thanks to the once-a-decade redistricting process, but that didn’t happen. Earlier this year, the Republican-controlled Legislature redrew the state’s two districts to give the GOP an advantage in the 1st District. But Sununu vetoed the plans, and the maps were updated by the courts instead with only minor changes.

Still, Republicans are bullish about their chances in New Hampshire and are eagerly eyeing both Democratic-held seats as potential pickups in November.

New Hampshire’s 1st District flipped five times in seven elections before Democrat Chris Pappas won his first term in 2018. He faces no primary opponent this year, while more than 10 Republicans are competing for a chance to challenge him.

The field includes a number of candidates with ties to Trump: Matt Mowers, the district’s 2020 Republican nominee and a former Trump State Department adviser; Karoline Leavitt, a former assistant press secretary in the Trump White House; and former TV broadcaster Gail Huff Brown, who is married to Scott Brown, a former U.S. senator from Massachusetts and the Trump administration ambassador to New Zealand. While Trump hasn’t endorsed in the race, the candidates haven’t been shy about emphasizing their connections to him.

In the second district, Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster faces no primary challenge as she seeks a sixth term. Seven Republicans are vying for their party’s nomination to challenge her, including pro-Trump candidate Bob Burns, a former county treasurer who runs a pharmaceutical safety company; the more moderate George Hansel, mayor of Keene; and Lily Tang Williams, who grew up in China and is a former libertarian U.S. Senate candidate in Colorado.