New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu beamed as he looked out upon a room packed with 60 round tables, each one full of supporters.
“A little daunting once you finally get up here. I’m absolutely humbled, absolutely humbled at the turnout,” he said to the crowd.
It may have been Sununu’s party at the Manchester Downtown Hotel Thursday night, but it was Vice President Mike Pence who got top billing.
Pence visited New Hampshire Thursday to promote the Trump administration’s tax overall and to fundraise for Sununu’s reelection campaign, and in both speeches, he made it clear that the Trump administration is solidly in Governor Chris Sununu’s corner.
Sununu told the crowd when he first considered running for office, he reached out to a lot of sitting governors for advice.
“The gentleman who is now sitting as the Vice President of the United States was the humble Governor of Indiana, was the first one, the first one, to come meet with me, sit down with me,” Sununu said.
And since then, Sununu said Pence has become a "good friend." That relationship could both benefit and strain the governor’s reelection campaign in New Hampshire. Both Republicans and Democrats have been watching to see how voters’ feelings about the Trump administration will impact local elections.
Pence and Sununu appeared together at both events Thursday, one to discuss the recent federal tax overhaul with the pro-Trump group America First Priorities, and a $500 a plate fundraiser for Sununu’s reelection campaign.
And in both speeches, Pence drew a clear line between Trump and Sununu.
“He’s a man like President Trump who is a man of action. He’s a man of his word and his leadership, just like the presidents, is making a remarkable difference for people of the Granite State,” Pence said.
Pence said both Trump and Sununu also have similar priorities, like cutting regulations and growing the economy.
A big part of Pence’s trip to New Hampshire was to sell the recent federal tax overhaul, and to promise supporters that New Hampshire will be better off because of it. While wrapping up each speech, Pence challenged his audience to share the good news about the Trump administration with others.
“Just pull ‘em aside, just tell 'em. Just tell 'em. Because I truly do believe the greatest force in this country is when neighbors talk to neighbors,” Pence said.
But those conversations might not be so easy in a state as politically split as New Hampshire. On the one hand, New Hampshire Democrats are quick to disagree with Pence’s assessment of the country. In a statement, the local party criticized Sununu’s “blind support for even the most dangerous and boorish behavior of the Trump administration.”
Things aren’t easy on the Republican side either, as not everyone is thrilled with the Trump administration.
Mechanic Marc Wilson was in the audience for Pence’s tax policy event. He’s a registered Republican and fervent Trump supporter, and he said he’s frustrated with Republicans who won’t consistently back the president.
“You’re either in or you're out. And to me, I think most of the Republicans who are constantly fighting, they should be out,” Wilson said.
Wilson came to see Pence with his buddy Richard Corrigan, they talk politics all the time and Corrigan brings his cars in to Wilson’s shop.
Corrigan is frustrated with Republicans, too. He twisted his red Make America Great Again hat in his hands as he nodded along with Wilson. 2018 is by all accounts gonna be an uphill battle for Republicans, and Corrigan said in the meantime, the party needs to find a way to come together.