Ayotte and Craig lead cash race in 2024 NH governor contest

Kelly Ayotte, a Republican, is a former state attorney general and U.S. senator. (Courtesy)

Kelly Ayotte, a Republican, is a former state attorney general and U.S. senator. (Courtesy)

By JOSH ROGERS

New Hampshire Public Radio

Published: 12-07-2023 5:45 PM

The candidates vying to become New Hampshire’s next governor are already raising — and in some cases spending — big money.

Next year’s election is the first since 2016 in which there will be an open seat for in the governor’s office. Campaign finance reports filed with the Secretary of State’s office Wednesday provide the first real snapshot of the fundraising efforts of the four main candidates on the Republican and Democratic sides.

Here are the bottom lines:

Republican Kelly Ayotte has raised by far the most money of any candidate in the race to date: $2.74 million.

Contributions from real estate developers and auto dealers padded Ayotte’s bottom line, which also included a $300,000 transfer from a leadership PAC from her time as a U.S. senator.

Ayotte has also spent big, shelling out $400,000 so far with the 2024 general election still 11 months away.

Republican Chuck Morse, meanwhile, collected $902,000, including donations from many Southern Tier businesses. But Morse, who served as state Senate president and owns a Atkinton nursery and garden business, has spent little on his campaign to date: Just over $50,000.

On the Democratic side, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig has so far topped the fundraising in that primary, collecting $1.26 million. Her campaign has $968,000 on hand.

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Craig’s total includes plenty of support from organized labor and donors in and around the Queen City, where she’s served as mayor for six years.

Among her campaign’s expenses was a $5,000 donation to the failed campaign of Kevin Cavanaugh, the Manchester alderman she had endorsed to succeed her as mayor. Cavanaugh lost last month to Republican Jay Ruais.

The other major Democrat in the race for governor, Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, has meanwhile raised $942,000. She’s spent more than a third of that total so far — $361,000 — including more than $100,000 to pay staff.

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.