By Jon Keller

EXETER, N.H. (CBS) — “I like moving, I like getting stuff done,” said Gov. Chris Sununu (R-New Hampshire) as he spiked talk of an attempted move to Washington D.C. “I don’t know if they could handle me down there, I think I’d be like a lion in a cage.”

Sununu won’t be prowling the Senate corridors after announcing he’d prefer to stay in a job where political rhetoric has to match up with reality. “They don’t really have that perspective in Washington. It’s about big government, it’s about policy and funding, no real sense of management, no real sense of connection to the individual.”

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That’s something Sununu claims DC Democrats like incumbent Senator Maggie Hassan don’t get. But Hassan, herself a former New Hampshire governor, begs to differ.

“The question a lot of us who have been governors often ask is ‘OK, I get the idea, but how is that actually gonna work?'” she says.

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Hassan’s re-election campaign has been touting her get-it-done credentials on TV for weeks, with one ad featuring her work to help startups by doubling funding for the state research and development tax credit and making it permanent. That hasn’t stopped critics like Sununu from claiming “the good news for the Republican party and our country as a whole is that the people of NH are clearly ready to replace Sen. Hassan.”

But the confluence of passage of the long-awaited infrastructure bill with all its benefits to New Hampshire and Sununu’s decision to stay put seems at least a happy coincidence for Hassan. “We have shown over the last multiple months that we can work together and get things done for the American people,” she says.

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Already on Tuesday, big New Hampshire Republican names like former Senator Kelly Ayotte and former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown have said they’re not running. There are a couple of longshot outsiders who’ve said they will go for it, but the situation illustrates a problem change candidates often face – if an incumbent like Hassan can make a good case they’re doing their best to by-pass the gridlock and partisanship everyone hates, they might not be as vulnerable as you might think.

Jon Keller