Manchester, NH — Frank Guinta is close to launching a campaign to reclaim the congressional seat he lost to Carol Shea-Porter in 2012, according to Union Leader political columnist John DiStaso. The former mayor or Manchester represented New Hampshire’s First Congressional District from January 2011 to January 2013 after beating Shea-Porter, a two-term incumbent, in 2010.
According to DiStaso, Guinta “is moving aggressively” to run again and has hired his former chief of staff Ethan Zorfas, who also served as his campaign manager.
Zorfas told DiStaso, “Frank has begun making calls to donors and to Republican leaders and discuss running again for the U.S. House.”
Guinta likely will formally announce his candidacy in September.
He successfully ousted Democrat Shea-Porter from Congress in 2010, when the Granite State GOP swept all national offices and took veto-proof majorities in both houses of the state legislature. In turn, Guinta was defeated by Shea-Porter in a bitterly fought 2012 rematch. Guinta lost to Shea-Porter by approximately 13,000 out of the almost 330,000 votes that were cast after beating her decisively, 54% to 42%, two years earlier. In their November 2012 rematch, Guinta lost Manchester and his home ward to his rival.
The conservative Republican likely will have little trouble raising money. Less than six weeks after the 113th Congress was sworn in on January 3, 2013, the National Republican Congressional Committee targeted Shea-Porter with its first ad of the 2014 election cycle. The TV attack ad ran almost two full years ahead of the ballot-count that will determine if she wins a fourth term.
Political pundits believed that Executive Councilor Chris Sununu, the son of former New Hampshire Governor John H. Sununu, was contemplating running for the seat once held by his brother, John E. Sununu. Sununu fils spent three terms representing New Hampshire’s 1st before being elected to the U.S. Senate.
Chris Sununu recently announced that he planned on running for re-election to the Executive Council in 2014, thus eliminating a powerful potential challenger and virtually clearing the field for Guinta.
WMUR-TV reports that UNH Business School Dean Daniel E. Innis is considering running in the Republican primary.
The dean of UNH’s Peter T. Paul School of Business and Economics, Innis is affiliated with the Concord Coalition, a political action committee dedicated to balancing the federal budget. In addition to his duties as dean, Professor Innis teaches marketing classes. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce.
According to WMUR-TV, Innis reports that he is in the “very early” stages of deciding on a run. “I am in an exploratory phase. It is very, very early.”
He is seeking advice from his friends and Republican activists in the Seacoast Region.
“It is pretty basic and early conversation.”
A gay man who is married to another man in gay-marriage-friendly New Hampshire, Innis hails from Portsmouth, which is a 30-minute drive from Carol Shea-Porter’s hometown of Rochester. Republicans handicapping a November match-up between the two candidates may feel that Shea-Porter is more likely to maintain her strength in the more liberal Seacoast region both she and Innis call home, and Innis is likely to do worse than Guinta in the other areas of the First Congressional District that historically are more conservative.