CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has removed a member of the Seacoast Cancer Cluster Commission who wrote an op-ed piece saying there is no cancer cluster.

Sununu said Tuesday he's removed Steve Kenda of North Hampton, a past Republican candidate for state Senate and governor, from the commission. He said Kenda's participation has become too much of a distraction.

The state Department of Health and Human Services for several years has been investigating a greater-than-expected number of cases of two types of rare childhood cancers in the seacoast region: rhabdomyosarcoma and pleuropulmonary blastoma.

Kenda was appointed by Sununu to a 21-member commission to investigate and analyze findings. Before he began work on it, he denied the existence of a cluster. His position angered parents in the area whose children died of cancer.