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Race Ratings: Breakdown of Granite State Races

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Frank Guinta, who won New Hampshire’s 1st district by a 12-point margin in 2010, is facing a rematch with former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter this cycle. For now, the race favors Guinta, but that could change.

Just as New Hampshire is at the center of the battle to win the White House, the Granite State will be consequential to the size of the House majority in 2013.

There is no Senate race on the ballot this year, but both of the state’s House seats are in play, and the contests are expected to see a flood of outside money and interest this fall. Insiders in both parties say their presidential candidate gives their House candidates a distinct edge downballot.

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has campaigned in the Granite State for nearly five years and is a former governor of neighboring Massachusetts. However, President Barack Obama won the state in 2008 by 9 points, and state Democrats continue to proudly display his image on the party website.

New Hampshire’s two Republican incumbents face rematches from 2010, which turned into a political bloodbath for Democrats because of the national GOP wave. Rep. Frank Guinta has a somewhat easier path to re-election than Rep. Charles Bass, who was swept out of Congress in the 2006 wave and then rode the tide back last cycle. But the two Members’ electoral fates may well be tied together if history repeats itself.

New Hampshire has sent two Members of the same party to Congress nearly every term for two decades. Given that historical context, it is hard to see how Republicans hold one seat while the other goes Democratic.

Still, it could happen and party operatives stress that the two races have key differences.

Democrats insist the state is trending their way and that 2010 was an anomaly. They also say the Republican-led state Legislature has overreached on social issues and the blowback will benefit Democrats Ann McLane Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter. If Democrats sweep the seats, New Hampshire will have the first all-female delegation in American history and possibly a female governor as well.

The rematch scenarios will be an interesting barometer of whether New Hampshire is trending one direction or the other.

1st district
Incumbent: Frank Guinta (R)
1st term (54 percent)
Rating: Leans Republican

Most, but not all, New Hampshire political insiders believe this will be the easier seat for the GOP to hold. Guinta beat then-Rep. Carol Shea-Porter by a 12-point margin in 2010, and she is a perennially weak fundraiser. Republicans insist Shea-Porter is an ideal opponent. Because she’s a former Member, they have a voting record to mine, and they say she is too liberal for the district. The demographics of the 1st are better overall for Republicans, and it did not change a great deal in redistricting.

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