Former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu is stepping down as state Republican chairman, citing "a variety of personal, family and business reasons."

His decision to not run for re-election comes as Republicans in the Granite State prepare to pick a standard-bearer to run against President Obama in 2012. New Hampshire proudly hosts the nation's first presidential primary, and the campaign activity will surely pick up next year.

Sununu has been a major player on the national political scene for decades, and helped former President George H.W. Bush win the New Hampshire presidential primary in 1988.

Bush was coming off a bruising loss in the Iowa presidential caucuses and the win in New Hampshire turned his campaign around. Bush ultimately picked Sununu to be his White House chief of staff.

More recently, Sununu has been arguably the most successful state party chair in the country, credited with turning around the fortunes of the New Hampshire GOP. In the 2010 midterm elections Republicans swept all federal races, won huge majorities in both houses of the legislature, picking up 124 seats in the state House, the biggest gain ever recorded in a single election cycle.

In the wake of his decision, every GOP 2012 hopeful will now be seeking the counsel and support of Sununu. They will also have his name on the top of their lists of potential 2012 New Hampshire campaign chairmen.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, a 2008 GOP presidential candidate and potential 2012 candidate tweeted, "Thank you Gov. John Sununu for your wise leadership. Because of you, NH is red again."

Jake Gibson is a producer working at the Fox News Washington bureau who covers politics, law enforcement and intelligence issues.