Politics

Shea-Porter Returns to Congress, Defeats Guinta in New Hampshire’s 1st District

Shea-Porter and Guinta faced off for the fourth straight time

Carol Shea-Porter, right, will return to Congress for the third time after beating Frank C. Guinta in their fourth matchup. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrat Carol Shea-Porter will be returning to Congress, The Associated Press projects, after defeating Republican Rep. Frank C. Guinta in New Hampshire’s 1st District.

 

Shea-Porter led Guinta by just a few thousand votes with nearly all precincts reporting before the race was called.

[Election Results 2016]

The race was the fourth straight matchup between the pair, who first faced off in 2010, when Guinta ousted Shea-Porter, then a two-term congresswoman, from Congress. In 2012, Shea-Porter won the seat back, only to lose it again in 2014, when Guinta won with nearly 52 percent of the vote.

New Hampshire’s 1st District is home to Manchester, the most populous city in the state. It is situated in the eastern part of the state, bordering Maine, and includes the coastal area of Portsmouth.

Guinta appears to have come up against a strong Democratic turnout in New Hampshire, where the party also sought to flip the U.S. Senate seat. That race between incumbent Republican Kelly Ayotte and Democratic challenger Gov. Maggie Hassan, was down to the wire Wednesday morning with only a few thousand votes to be counted.

With her victory, Shea-Porter will return to the House for the fourth time, with a focus on economic issues such as manufacturing, student loan debt, and infrastructure investment. She also supports altering campaign finance laws to reduce the influence of big campaign contributors.

Her prior voting record in Congress was one of a progressive Democrat. She said she is proudest of her House vote for the 2010 health care law and that the opioid addiction crisis in New Hampshire is proving the law’s value.

“It was the hardest and I knew that that would end my term,” she said in an interview. “It has brought health insurance to millions around the country. It has changed their lives. I still have people come up to me in grocery stores and other places and say, ‘I never could get treatment for my diabetes’ or whatever their story is. They say, ‘I want to thank you for the health care.’”

Coming into Election Day, the race was rated Tilts Democrat by The Rothenberg & Gonzalez Political Report/Roll Call.

[Guinta Survives Primary, Heads to Fourth Matchup With Shea-Porter]

Guinta was expected to lose his mid-September primary, but he scored a narrow victory after being dogged by an earlier campaign finance violation. The Federal Election Commission found that he had improperly accepted a $355,000 loan from his parents’ account during his 2010 campaign.

The state’s largest newspaper, the New Hampshire Union Leader, had urged him to resign, headlining an editorial, “Frank Guinta is a damned liar.” 

Leading Republicans in the Granite State, among them Sen. Kelly Ayotte, had also said Guinta ought to step down.

[Once Unthinkable, Frank Guinta Could Survive His Primary]

Contact Bowman at bridgetbowman@rollcall.com and follow her on Twitter @bridgetbhc.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.