“Sununu Madness” Final Four

This March Madness season, Sununu Reality Check launched a project titled “Sununu Madness!”, a bracket competition designed to highlight 64 of Governor Chris Sununu’s most egregious failures of leadership in his term in office and narrow them down in an effort to decide which is Sununu’s worst misstep as governor.

Sununu’s failures were originally split into four categories: support and defense of President Trump, ethical issues, leadership failures, and extreme positions.

After a long series of Twitter polls, through which we invited participants to weigh in on the matchups, voters narrowed it down to the Final Four: Sununu’s defense of President Trump on the Charlottesville rally clashes, Sununu giving himself an over-$22,000 pay raise, leaving state employees without a contract for 271 days, and spreading his conspiracy theory on voter fraud in New Hampshire with his “they’re busing them in all over the place” comment.

We’re inviting any who wish to participate to read the background information on the Final Four options below, and vote in the polls on the Sununu Reality Check Twitter feed beginning on Thursday.

Sununu’s defense of President Trump on Charlottesville

During the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12th, 2017, a white nationalist drove into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32 year-old Heather Heyer. President Trump made a statement the following day condemning “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” By insinuating that there was a moral equivalence between the protestors and the white supremacist rally attendees, Trump elicited strong rebukes from elected officials across the country, including many Republicans.

But not Chris Sununu.

When Governor Sununu was asked about the false equivalence in Trump’s “on many sides” comment, Sununu chose to defend Trump, saying “Look, the president’s statement condemned it. I mean, no matter what the president says, people are going to criticize it.”

Sununu gave himself a $22,192.30 pay raise

On his first day in office, Governor Sununu gave himself a $22,192.30 raise over his predecessor, then-Governor Maggie Hassan. That amounts to a raise of more than 18 percent while Sununu has denied state employees a modest 3 percent raise to keep up with the cost of living.

Sununu has left state employees without a contract for 271 Days

New Hampshire state workers have gone without a contract and, in some cases, the equipment necessary to do their jobs, for the last 271 days. The negotiations started in July 2017, at the beginning of the current fiscal year when the previous contract expired. Sununu balked at the state employees unions request for a 3 percent raise, which is necessary to meet the rising cost of living, and ended the negotiations altogether.

In February, State Employees’ Association President Rich Gulla said: “The governor’s number one job is to run the state, but Governor Sununu hasn’t provided his own workers with a fair contract.” While Sununu gave himself a pay raise and gave his unqualified Education Commissioner a $6,000 raise, he has held his hard line and refused to negotiate with the state workers for almost a year.

Sununu’s voter fraud conspiracy theory: “they’re busing them in all over the place”

A week before the 2016 election, Governor Sununu claimed that Democratic electoral victories in New Hampshire have been the result of illegal voting by Massachusetts residents brought into the state on buses. In an appearance on the Howie Carr show, Sununu said: “When Massachusetts elections are not very close, they’re busing them in all over the place.”

The non-partisan fact-checking website Politifact called Sununu’s claim “ridiculous” and rated it “Pants on Fire.” Just yesterday, a detailed report debunked Republican lies about widespread voter fraud by detailing the narrow cases and comparing the reality with the rhetoric.

President Trump, eager to justify his popular vote loss in the 2016 election, picked up and ran with Sununu’s bogus claims in February 2017, blaming his own general election loss in the Granite State on busloads of illegal voters swinging elections in New Hampshire. After President Trump repeated Sununu’s baseless claim, Sununu said that he would be “happy to talk about that and take a look at” any evidence Trump might have.

Click the bracket below to open a printable PDF: