New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has taken his most significant step yet in exploring a run for the White House, launching a national political organization that is a popular tool for potential presidential candidates. candidates testing the waters.

The governor first confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday that he had formed the «Live Free or Die» committee (taken from his state’s nickname), a 501(c)(4) organization where politicians can raise unlimited funds. Donations do not have to be disclosed, and potential candidates often use these nonprofit political organizations as a way to gauge donor interest.

The move comes after weeks in which Sununu has publicly mocked entering the GOP primary, which officially kicks off with a first-in-the-nation contest in his home state, granting him automatic name identification and familiarity.

“I am excited to talk about the successes we have had in New Hampshire: lowering taxes, creating educational options for parents and children, and creating opportunities for businesses to grow and prosper,” Sununu said in a statement to NBC News. «What we’ve done in New Hampshire is a great model for the federal government, specifically promoting the conservative principles of limited government, local control and individual responsibility.»

Sununu joins former UN ambassador Nikki Haley and former Vice President Mike Pence in forming such a committee. Haley is expected to announce her presidential candidacy next week.

Sununu will be in Washington from February 8 to 12 for the National Governors Association winter meeting, according to his office, and while he is there, he is expected to have discussions on efforts related to the committee. He is working with Republican political strategist Brian McCabe and the DCI Group in Washington on his new organization.

“As a New Hampshire resident, I am proud of what Governor Sununu has done to lower taxes, increase educational opportunities and grow our economy, all with a divided state legislature and an independent voting bloc,” McCabe said in a statement. release. If Republicans are going to succeed in 2024 and beyond, we need a generational shift in how we communicate our conservative principles. Governor Sununu has succeeded in bringing all parties together to get things done for the people of New Hampshire, and if there is anything he can do to help you speak about those successes to a larger audience, I want to do it.»

In a recent interview with NBC News, Sununu cast doubt on the candidacies of both Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Sununu said he did not believe Trump could beat President Joe Biden if there is a showdown in 2024 and called DeSantis’s style of governance too authoritarian if translated into a national government.

“America said something loud and clear on November 22, they are tired of the Washington drama, the lack of results. They don’t want to get into political revenge,” Sununu said. «I am a governor who is elected every two years, there is a feeling that we can exercise leadership.»

Media-friendly Sununu, newly elected to his fourth two-year term, could operate in a different lane than Trump and DeSantis, who have hung much of their posts on the culture wars, New Hampshire political operatives say.

“Chris can do that really well and he’s shown it,” said Renee Plummer, an influential longtime GOP member in New Hampshire who now says she identifies as a bipartisan. “Chris is very good with the camera. …He He just has that kind of ‘it’ factor you’re looking for. He doesn’t have a problem with people he doesn’t like. He is a good candidate. I don’t think you can learn what Chris Sununu has, he’s a natural at that.»

The Live Free or Die committee, according to a spokesperson, is «dedicated to furthering New Hampshire’s Live Free or Die ethos, prioritizing conservative values ​​and framing the national conversation to meaningfully engage and inspire the next generation of Americans.»

Named for its place in the tax code, 501(c)(4) organizations they have become more and more common for potential presidential candidates in recent years. Pence, who is also openly considering a run for president in 2024, launched Advancing American Freedom two years ago, and a few other potential Republican hopefuls have followed suit.

Rated by critics as «dark money» committees, these nonprofit groups can be directly involved in politics, including supporting candidates, and do not have to publicly disclose their donors. They risk losing their tax-exempt status if politics is the primary focus of their activities, a standard that is difficult to define.