CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday added President Donald Trump’s name to Republican primary ballot in New Hampshire, the state where he achieved his first victory of the 2016 campaign.
Accompanied by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, Pence signed the paperwork and paid the $1,000 filing fee at the secretary of state’s office while supporters chanted “four more years” in the hallway.
“In so many ways, the movement that has transformed our country, rebuilt our military, revived the American economy, restored and strengthened the Constitutional foundation of our courts, has America standing tall in the world again, began here in the Republican primary in New Hampshire,” Pence said “I couldn’t be more honored, on behalf of the president of the United States, to have his name on the ballot.”
While Trump won the 2016 New Hampshire GOP primary, he lost the state in the general election to Democrat Hillary Clinton. And Sununu was one of the few successful Republicans during the 2018 midterm elections, when Democrats won both of the state’s congressional seats and took control of both chambers of the state Legislature.
The Republican parties in several states have issued official endorsements of the president, and several states are canceling their GOP primaries altogether. In New Hampshire, Trump is expected to face at least three challengers in New Hampshire: former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh. And state GOP bylaws require the party to remain neutral, though some Trump supporters considered trying to change the rules last year.
Pence declined to comment Thursday on whether primaries should be canceled.
“I think that’s a decision for every state to make,” he said. “But I know there’s a long tradition when there’s an incumbent president of a particular party, some states decide to save the expense of a primary, and we respect that. We see it as an affirmation of the president’s record and his leadership and the overwhelming support that President Trump has among Republicans and frankly all across this country.”