A week before Election Day, the New Hampshire gubernatorial candidates met on the podium Tuesday night, clashing over abortion rights, energy policy and other issues in the race.  He touted his record in office, but Democratic contender Dr. Tom Sherman said it was time for a change.  With Sununu he said the state was successful under his leadership while Sherman criticized him for his missed opportunities and playing politics on important issues.  >> Read the biographies of the discussion participants: Sherman |  The first minutes of discussion focused on rising energy prices, a growing concern for granite staters as winter approaches.  Sherman said Sonono failed to prepare New Hampshire for higher natural gas and heating oil prices by not allowing the state to diversify its electricity generation.  A better place than we are now Governor Sunono has been really promoting what we need from renewables, in terms of efficiency, in terms of weathering,” Sherman said. He has pushed for programs like solar initiatives targeting low-income families and encouraged offshore wind power, said Sherman. “But at the end of the day, you need a transition.” “We need natural gas. We need fossil fuels as we make this transition over the next 10 to 20 years." Both candidates also indicated they were in favor of nuclear power, Sherman noted that the question of what to do with the fuel needs to be addressed, and Sunono said small nuclear reactors do not. Still likely decades away, and candidates clashed intently over abortion, which became a major factor in the race.Sunono grew out of criticism from abortion rights advocates when he signed a law into his 2021 budget banning abortion after 24 weeks with no exceptions for diagnosing a fatal fetus or the life of the mother. The original law also required an ultrasound for every abortion, whether medically necessary or not, and the provision of ultrasounds was subsequently lifted, and there are now exceptions for diagnosing a fatal fetus and the mother's life. A veto would shut down the government.In the discussion, women in New Hampshire still have access to abortion, Sounono said, "Think about the Dobbs case.  that dropped Roe v. Wade."  "I supported Roe against Wade. But when Dobbs happened, nothing changed here. It happened in other countries. I saw this extremism in other countries. But nothing changed from the day before to the next."  Sunono was asked about his speech on the issue, but he did not address it in his answer.  He described himself as a pro-choice governor, but in a conservative podcast, he said, "I'm the first governor in 40 years to sign an abortion ban. Republican governors before me have never signed on to that. I've done more on the pro-life cause, if you will, More than anyone else.” “Either he lacks the courage to stand up to his party or the conviction to stand up for the women of New Hampshire,” Sherman said.  He also attacked Sherman Sonono over the housing crisis facing New Hampshire, where the vacancy rate is just 0.5.  %.  He described Sununo's policies as not doing enough to address the problem and echoed previous criticisms of US Senator Jane Shaheen that the state's management of pandemic relief funds led to a loss of rental assistance funds.  "This is a classic for a conservative," Sherman said.  .  "Because it continues to put tools out there on those issues that really need a comprehensive and complete accounting so that they can be addressed."  He said he has a $35 million a year plan that will build on Sununu's $100 million investment NH plan, a program that he said has been "unbelievably failing."  But Sununu defended Invest NH, calling the plan to build more multi-family homes "totally transformative".  Such a plan is necessary because so many people want to move to New Hampshire, Sunono said.  "We have 20,000 units that we need to put on the market. Why? Because we are the envy of the nation."  "Everyone moves here. Businesses are expanding here. We are the fastest growing country."  During a blitzkrieg section of the debate, candidates said they were divided on a key issue in the north of the country, whether the state should allow the development of a landfill in Dalton next to Forest Lake State Park.  “The answer is yes,” Sunono said.  “There is a smart and safe way to do this,” Sherman said.  "The groundwater flows there very, very quickly. We know from the hydrology studies that there is a danger."  The rest of the week will also include debates every night at 8pm live on WMUR-TV, WMUR.com, within the WMUR app and on New Hampshire. Friday: A second congressional district debate, this is an evolving story that gets updated. 
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                                                            <p>A week before Election Day, the New Hampshire gubernatorial candidates met on the debate stage Tuesday night, clashing over abortion rights, energy policy and other key issues in the race.

Republican Governor Chris Sununu is seeking a fourth term in office and often touts his record in office, but Democratic challenger Dr. Tom Sherman said it was time for a change.

>> Candidates ruling the cases

At the Granite State debate, sponsored by WMUR in partnership with the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, the candidates sparred frequently, with Sunono saying the state had been successful under his leadership while Sherman criticized him for his missed opportunities and playing politics on important issues.

>> Read the bios of the discussion participant: Sherman | Sununu

The first minutes of discussion focused on rising energy prices, a growing concern for Granite Staters as winter approaches. Sherman said Sonono failed to prepare New Hampshire for higher natural gas and heating oil prices by not allowing the state to diversify its electricity generation.

>> Poll shows some races in New Hampshire leaning toward Republicans

“Obviously, we could have been in a much better place than we are now if Governor Sununu had really encouraged what we need in terms of renewables, in terms of efficiency, in terms of weathering,” Sherman said. “Unfortunately, he didn’t.”

Sunono said he has pushed for programs such as solar initiatives targeting low-income families and has boosted offshore wind power.

“But at the end of the day, you need a transition,” he said. “We need natural gas. We need fossil fuels as we make this transition over the next 10-20 years.”

Both candidates have also indicated they are in favor of nuclear power, with Sherman noting that the question of what to do with spent fuel needs to be addressed, and Sunono saying that modular small nuclear reactors are still likely decades away.

The two candidates clashed bitterly over abortion, which became a major factor in the race. Sununu grew out of criticism from abortion rights advocates when he signed a law in the 2021 budget banning abortion after 24 weeks with no exceptions for fatal fetal diagnoses or maternal life. The original bill also required an ultrasound for every abortion, whether or not it was medically necessary.

The provision of ultrasound was subsequently lifted, and there are now exceptions for diagnosing a fatal fetus and the mother’s life.

When he signed the bill, Sunono said he did not believe the issue warranted a hold on the entire budget, saying that a veto would have shut down the government. In the discussion, Sununo said that women in New Hampshire still have access to an abortion.

“Think of the Dobbs case that dropped Roe v. Wade,” Sunono said. “I supported Roe v. Wade. But when Dobbs happened, nothing changed here. It happened in other countries. I’ve seen other countries this extreme. But nothing changed from the day before to the next.”

Sununu was asked about his speech on the issue, but he did not address it in his answer. He described himself as a pro-choice governor, but in a conservative podcast, he said, “I am the first governor in 40 years to sign an abortion ban. Republican governors before me have never signed on to that. I’ve done more on a pro-life cause, if you will, than any other person “.

Sherman Sonono was criticized for not confronting fellow Republicans in the legislature who passed abortion restrictions.

“Either he lacked the courage to stand up to his party or the conviction to stand up for the women of New Hampshire,” Sherman said.

Sherman also attacked Sonono over the housing crisis facing New Hampshire, where the rate of vacant rents is only 0.5%. He described Sununo’s policies as not doing enough to address the problem and echoed previous criticisms of US Senator Jane Shaheen that the state’s administration of pandemic relief funds led to a loss of rental assistance funds.

“This is a classic for the governor,” Sherman said. “Because it continues to put tools out there on those issues that really need a comprehensive and complete accounting so that they can be addressed.”

He said he has a $35 million a year plan that will build on Sununu’s $100 million investment NH plan, a program he said has been “incredibly failing.”

But Sununu defended Invest NH, calling the plan to build more multi-family homes “totally transformative”. Such a plan is necessary, he said, because so many people want to move to New Hampshire.

“We have 20,000 units that we need to put on the market. Why? Because we are the envy of the nation,” Sunono said. “Everyone is moving here. Businesses are expanding here. We are the fastest growing country.”

During a whirlwind section of the discussion, candidates said they were divided on a key issue in the North, whether the state should allow the development of the Dalton landfill next to Forest Lake State Park.

“The answer is yes,” Sununo said. “There is a smart and safe way to do this.”

“Absolutely not,” Sherman said. “The groundwater there is flowing very quickly. We know from the hydrogeology studies that there are risks.”

The rest of the week will also feature debates every night at 8pm live on WMUR TV, on WMUR.com, within the WMUR app and in a very local New Hampshire:

  • Wednesday: US Senate debate
  • Thursday: 1 corresponding congressional district
  • Friday: The second congressional district debate

This is an evolving story that is being updated.

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