MANCHESTER, N.H. —The Republican gubernatorial primary between Executive Councilor Chris Sununu and state Rep. Frank Edelblut qualified for a recount Wednesday after Edelblut made an unexpectedly strong showing in the election.

With nearly all of the 300 precincts reporting in New Hampshire’s Tuesday primary, Sununu led Edelblut by fewer than 1,000 votes.

He had 30.6 percent of the votes, compared to Edelblut’s 29.8 percent. Any margin below 1.5 percent qualifies for a recount under state law.

Edelblut’s campaign hasn’t commented on whether it plans to seek a recount, and The Associated Press does not call races that are eligible for recounts until candidates declare they will not seek one.

At a state GOP breakfast Wednesday, both Edelblut and Sununu said defeating Democratic nominee Colin Van Ostern is a top priority.

“We have a mission,” Edelblut said. “Colin Van Ostern is a poser; Colin Van Ostern does not know how to restore the New Hampshire advantage.”

Van Ostern, an executive councilor, easily defeated Democratic challengers Mark Connolly and Steve Marchand.

Sununu and Van Ostern serve together on the council and have sparred over funding for Planned Parenthood and whether to bring commuter rail to New Hampshire from Boston.

“Let me tell you, Colin Van Ostern has been nothing, literally nothing, but a rubber stamp for (governor) Maggie Hassan’s extreme left-wing agenda,” Sununu said Wednesday.

In his victory speech Tuesday, Van Ostern pledged to focus on jobs, schools and access to women’s health care, among other things. He has promised to push for funding for full-day kindergarten and to permanently continue Medicaid expansion.

Van Ostern came to New Hampshire in the early 2000s to work on Democratic political campaigns and went on to work at Stonyfield Yogurt and Southern New Hampshire University’s College for America program, a competency-based learning program.

“If you work with me in the next two months, I will work my heart out for the people of New Hampshire in the next two years,” Van Ostern told supporters at the Millyard Museum in Manchester.

Regardless of the final vote count, Edelblut emerged as the surprise contender from the four-way Republican primary. Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, who was expected to perform well, conceded early in the night after a weak showing. State Sen. Jeanie Forrester also conceded.

Edelblut, in his first term in the Legislature, has far less statewide name recognition than Sununu or Gatsas. But he inspired some of the state’s most conservative voters by talking about cutting the size of government and expanding educational choice.

Edelblut launched and ran a company called Control Solutions, which helped large companies navigate regulations. He’s become wealthy through his business ventures, and lent his political campaign at least $750,000.

His campaign was run by Brent Littlefield, a political consultant who helped lead Maine Gov. Paul LePage to victory in 2010 and again in 2014.

Sununu, meanwhile, is the brother of a former U.S. senator and the son of former Gov. John Sununu, who served as chief of staff for President George H.W. Bush. Chris Sununu is in his third-term on the executive council and serves as chief executive officer of Waterville Valley Ski Resort.

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