Chuck Morse’s Gubernatorial Bid: Is He Running or Taking a Stroll?

On the last Thursday of September, Chuck Morse, the former president of the New Hampshire Senate, announced his candidacy to succeed Chris Sununu as the state’s governor. I attended the event and will unfold both my observations and political analyses concerning Morse’s announcement. 

Upon its surface, the venue suited the occasion perfectly. White tablecloths, lightly faded floral carpeting, slow jazz standards from a live band, and beige walls punctuated by views of a neatly manicured green. But very quickly, what started as something resembling a mid-sized church coffee hour, quickly expanded into a chattering crowd of several hundred people (albeit mostly of a certain age). Tables filled and standing throngs began to spread along the margins of the rented hall. Within an hour of its start, the event was in full-swing.

Upstairs I took a more private opportunity to observe the candidate as he interacted with supporters and press. His communications team nimbly curated the attendees, while Senator Morse posed for smiling photos like a true professional of the political class. From my seat I observed an affable, white-haired gentleman farmer in his early sixties. Indeed, it was hard to see him and not find him entirely appropriate to the particular specialty of public office.  

After a convocation, the pledge, not one but two patriotic sing-alongs, and an acknowledgment of prominent attendees, the event truly commenced with a brief address by NH Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut (once considered a formidable gubernatorial contender himself). 

“Don’t let the Democrats gaslight you into thinking that parental involvement is not paramount,” said Edelblut of the education system, in a statement which presaged one of the evening’s key themes;—though not necessarily its tone. The frontal nature of this well-deserved attack on the Left was, in fact, the first and last of its kind. 

The Commissioner was followed in his remarks by the current Senate President, Jeb Bradley, whose praise of the candidate was likewise kind and compendious. 

Morse himself understood the audience well, eliciting eager applause with the well-timed application of typical Republican motifs, calmly delivered in an unpretentious New England accent. Childhood anecdotes about poverty and resilience transitioned to the story of his business career and subsequent entry into political life. He touted his success in passing “the most conservative budget in history,” lowering taxes, establishing ‘constitutional carry’ gun laws, and recent involvement in a delegation to the southern border, among other noteworthy accomplishments. 

But what the former Senator boasts in laudable policy positions he lacks in fire. When he references the legislature’s failure to pass the Parental Bill of Rights in March, he avoids condemning those wayward faux-Republicans whose indolence lost the vote. He expounds on his productive collaboration with Governor Sununu and other members of the GOP without once mentioning his chief competitor for the nomination, Kelly Ayotte, or Democratic Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, who also seeks the office. While he bemoans the rising crime, drug abuse, and homelessness in the City of Manchester, he calls only to support law enforcement and omits even a coded criticism of the other Democrat contender, sitting Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig. 

In the previous mid-term election (and even in several local special elections), the Left has insourced vast amounts of financial and human resources from out-of-state. They support their chosen candidates with seemingly endless cash and AstroTurf communities with trained canvassers from Massachusetts and beyond. But although he made a passing reference to the malign influence of “Biden’s lackies,” Morse failed to articulate a strategy to counteract this urgent threat from without. 

Democrats Craig and Warmington are blunt, aggressive, and fanatical. While too enthusiastically emulating their tack in these respects would be a mistake, the Republican candidate confronting them must somewhat seek to match their energy if he or she has any hope of a popular victory. In the era of the Trump rally, boilerplate political soliloquies are simply insufficient. 

I admire Chuck Morse, and—what’s more—I like him. In all important matters of policy concerning the state Morse espouses eminently correct positions. Although his name recognition trails Ayotte’s to a certain degree, he is nonetheless well-known to the electorate. Between his lengthy resume and his ready catalog of prominent supporters, that he would make an excellent Governor of New Hampshire is almost beyond question. 

His seeming deficit in zeal is indeed the only outstanding criticism most right-thinking people could reasonably level at him. To dismiss his candidacy on this account alone is wrong, but it must be addressed without delay. 

Let us hope these urgent prescriptions do not fall on deaf ears.

Chuck Morse's Gubernatorial Bid: Is He Running or Taking a Stroll?


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