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Chris Sununu, running for governor, stands by Trump as others bail

State House Bureau

October 10. 2016 1:16PM

Chris Sununu speaks at his primary night party at the Portsmouth Country Club. (JASON SCHREIBER/CORRESPONDENT)

CONCORD — Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Sununu is not revoking his endorsement of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and says party members need to stand behind the nominee, despite the release of a videotape in which Trump is heard bragging about groping and otherwise sexually assaulting women.

Pat Griffin, a political consultant and adviser to the Sununu campaign, said the candidate made his position clear as news of the videotape broke.

"He strongly denounced Donald Trump's comments," said Griffin. "I'm not sure how much clearer he could be."

Sununu called the comments "repugnant, unacceptable and offensive."

The comments led Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte to withdraw her support for Trump, but Sununu will not follow suit.

"Chris is not going to walk away from the nominee of the party, even though he disagreed with some of the things Donald Trump has said, and understandably so," said Griffin. "Many Republicans find Trump's personal comments very offensive.

"That said, the choice is a binary one, it's either going to be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. That's the choice."

The state Democratic Party hosted a press conference on Monday morning at the State House, with a state senator, a state representative and a Concord resident, all women, calling on Sununu to clarify his position in the wake of the Trump videotape.

They accused Sununu of dodging the issue over the weekend.

"Chris Sununu is making arguably the worst decision of his life, standing behind someone who is a dangerous bully," said Concord resident Leah Plunkett, who identified herself as a concerned citizen of Concord.

State Sen. Molly Kelly and state Representative Cindy Rosenwald also spoke.

"Continued support suggests these kinds of behaviors are acceptable and they are not acceptable," said Rosenwald.

Sununu campaign spokesman David Abrams responded to the Monday morning press conference with a statement criticizing the tone of both the Trump and Clinton campaigns.

"Chris Sununu immediately denounced Donald Trump's comments last week in the strongest of terms," he said. "Chris is greatly disappointed by the broader tone and the direction of national politics driven by both the Trump and Clinton campaigns. It's beneath the dignity of the office they seek and offers little to improve the lives of Americans."

But Sununu would not join other Republicans in renouncing Trump's candidacy. Such a move would only aid Clinton, according to Griffin.

"At the end of the day you have to decide if you are with the nomination of your party or not," Griffin said. "Chris has determined that even though (he and Trump) don't agree on everything, he is going to stay exactly where he has been."

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