CONCORD, N.H. – With consumer prices hitting a new four-decade high, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire places the blame squarely on the Democrats in Washington.
"It is hitting every single person at their kitchen table. It effects lower-income and middle-income families worse than anybody," the governor told reporters on Friday after filing for re-election at the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office.
"Inflation is the worst tax on the poor that bad management can bring and that’s exactly what the Democrats in Washington have done," the governor charged.
Sununu, a frequent critic of his state’s all Democratic congressional delegation, once again claimed that they’re "doing absolutely nothing on the inflation issue. They’re doing their best to walk right past… It’s not a new line – I’ve said it before, I think they should all be fired."
The governor’s salvos came less than an hour after the Labor Department reported that the consumer price index, a broad measure of the price for everyday goods, including gasoline, groceries and rents, rose 8.6% in May from a year ago.
Sununu’s comments were part of a chorus of attacks from GOP leaders across the country on Friday against President Biden and the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate over their handling of the continued surge in inflation. Republicans been taking aim at Democrats for nearly a year over consumer prices and see it as a winning issue as they try to take back control of both houses of Congress in November’s midterm elections.
Pushing back, Democratic National Committee deputy communications director Daniel Wessel told Fox News that "while President Biden and Democrats are laser-focused on lowering costs for American families, Republicans have repeatedly voted against measures to help lower costs, including on insulin and at the pump, and are running on a MAGA agenda that could raise costs on working Americans, and end the Social Security and Medicare guarantees while making Trump’s tax giveaways to the ultra-wealthy permanent."
Sununu is running this year for a fourth two-year term steering New Hampshire, a key general election battleground state. He emphasized that "the key issues are clearly going to be about the economy. There is unfortunately a recession coming. Inflation is not going away. Gas prices are hitting folks really hard."
"Given where we are with the pandemic, given that I think we’re going to have some fiscal challenges ahead with a potential recession, you need good financial management. We’re doing great stuff on mental health. I’ve got to see those investments through. So there’s still a lot to do and I’m excited to do it," the governor touted.
Sununu angered many on his party’s far right the past couple of years, from his aggressive moves to combat the coronavirus pandemic to most recently his opposition to a congressional redistricting map pushed by Statehouse Republicans. And three far-right long shot candidates have filed to primary challenge the governor.
But Sununu told Fox News he’s not concerned about any deterioration of support by conservatives.
"I try to be a very rational conservative governor," he noted. "First and foremost, in the Republican Party is good fiscal responsibility. We always balance the budget. We always spent our onetime money very responsibly. Local control. I believe in it very strongly, as does the Republican Party."
And he acknowledged that "you’re always going to have folks on the ultra-anti-government right, you could say, that are going to be upset. Just like progressive will always have the ultra-socialists on the left, they’re going to be upset. There’s a spectrum. There’s always going to be a spectrum."
Pointing to his still very healthy approval ratings in public opinion surveys, he touted that "if you look at the polls, Republicans are pretty darn satisfied with the job we’re doing."
Sununu disappointed many national Republicans last November when he decided to run for re-election rather than challenge Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, who the GOP is heavily targeting in this year’s elections.
At the time, Sununu didn’t rule to out a possible national campaign in the future.
The governor on Friday told Fox News that he’ll be lending a helping hand across the country to fellow Republicans up and down the ballot.
"I’m willing to travel all over the country to help folks running for governor, young people who want to step up to run for office," he said. "I’ve got to focus on my own race as well, but I’ll be traveling all over the place, I think, to help folks out."
A source in Sununu’s political orbit told Fox News that the first of those trips will take place in the coming weeks, when Sununu travels to Connecticut to help campaign for GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski.