By CBSBoston.com Staff

EXETER, N.H. (CBS) — New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announced Tuesday he is not running for U.S. Senate, avoiding a potential clash with Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, who is running for re-election. Sununu said instead he will seek a fourth term as governor of the Granite State in 2022.

“I’d rather push myself 120 miles-per-hour delivering wins for New Hampshire than to slow down and end up on Capitol Hill debating partisan politics without results,” Sununu said.

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The 2022 New Hampshire Senate contest is expected to be one of the most closely watched races in the country, with control of the evenly split chamber up for grabs.

The Republican Sununu was elected to a third two-year term as governor in 2020 with 65% of the vote, even though Democrat Joe Biden won New Hampshire in the race for president.

“We have a lot more to do to protect the interests of New Hampshire citizens,” Sununu said. “And it’s just clear that I can be most effective doing that here in the corner office of the Granite State.”

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A poll conducted by Saint Anselm College in October found Sununu leading Hassan in a potential matchup 46% to 41%.

A reporter asked if he might consider a run for president in 2024, and Sununu didn’t dismiss the idea.

“I haven’t ruled out going to Washington, just not as a senator right now,” Sununu said.

Retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Don Bolduc has also announced his candidacy for the Republican Senate nomination.

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Sununu’s brother John served in the Senate representing New Hampshire from 2003 to 2009.

CBSBoston.com Staff