|JOHN SUNUNU BIOGRAPHY|
John Edward Sununu was born in Boston and lives in Waterville Valley, N.H. He graduated from Salem (N.H.) High School and received bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received a master's degree in business administration from Harvard University in 1991.
Sununu worked as a design engineer for a microwave electronics manufacturer from 1987 to 1989. He was an operations specialist for high-tech companies from 1990 to 1992. He was chief financial officer and director of operations of Teletrol Systems from 1993 to 1995. Sununu also worked as a business analyst for JHS Associates Ltd., a company operated by his father, John H. Sununu, a former New Hampshire governor and chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush.
Sununu and his wife, Kitty, have two children.
John E. Sununu defeated former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen to win election to the U.S. Senate in 2002. He's expected to face Shaheen again this fall, but this time he's defending a seat widely seen as one of the nation's most vulnerable and has trailed Shaheen in early polling.
Democrats - who made huge gains in New Hampshire in 2006 largely by capitalizing on anti-war sentiment - are hoping to continue the trend this year by casting Sununu as a Bush administration lackey who has voted with his party close to 90 percent of the time. But Sununu has stood up to his party at times.
He was one of a handful of Republicans who sided with Democrats to delay renewal of the Patriot Act over concerns about civil liberties, and later crafted the compromise that allowed the act's reauthorization. It was evidence the low-key engineer could negotiate detente among parties and could exert more skill than many freshman senators.
He opposed two energy bills in 2003 and 2005, was the first Republican in Congress to call for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' dismissal last year, and has called for detainee rights for military prisoners. In 2006, he was one of seven Senate Republicans - five from New England - who voted to kill a constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage. Sununu argued states should decide the issue.
But Sununu has voted with GOP majorities for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, for partially privatizing Social Security for younger workers and against a nonbinding resolution urging the administration to develop a plan for removing troops from Iraq.
Sununu wants to continue the effort in Iraq at least until Iraqi leaders get their political situation in order, a position that has raised the ire of anti-war activists and become fodder for anti-Sununu ads aired by national Democrats.
The son of a former governor and White House chief of staff, Sununu emerged slowly from his family's name early in his first term in the Senate. As the youngest member of the Senate, Sununu has found a mentor in Arizona Sen. John McCain, whom he calls a role model for successful leadership. The Republican presidential nominee, meanwhile, has called Sununu the "future of the Republican Party" and "the smartest person in the United States Senate."
Sununu served three terms in the House before winning his Senate seat in 2002 by defeating Republican Sen. Bob Smith in a bitter primary and Shaheen in the general election with 51 percent of the vote.
He prides himself on being disciplined and logical, and on working hard for constituents. He says his engineering background provided the work ethic and problem-solving skills he's used in the Senate.
"Leadership just doesn't mean voting the right way, it means getting things done," he says in a video posted on his campaign Web site. "Not just taking the right stand, but writing legislation, getting it passed and making a difference for the state you represent and love."
Sununu serves on the Commerce, Science and Transportation; the Finance; the Homeland Security; the Joint Economic Committee and Governmental Affairs committees.
The American Conservative Union gave his 2007 voting record 84 points out of 100. The liberal Americans for Democratic Action gave him 15 points.