NH-01: Carol Shea-Porter to Seek Rematch

From former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, via email:

I am running for the United States House of Representatives. During my two terms serving the good people of New Hampshire’s First District, I always worked for what I call the bottom 99% of Americans, and I never forgot that public office is a public trust.

I was honored to pass legislation to help active duty soldiers and veterans, families, working men and women, senior citizens, and students.  I am running again because I believe we must keep America the land of opportunity and fairness for your children and mine. …

Our current Congress is passing legislation that will hurt average Americans, and they are bowing to special interests instead of focusing on job creation and good government. My dad, who was born and died a Republican, never forgot the power of good government to transform lives.   He served our country in WWII, and then our country thanked him with the GI bill for college so his children were raised in the middle class. He and my mom worked hard, raised a family, and served their community. They paid their taxes and when they retired, received Social Security benefits and Medicare. It was a contract. My parents supported these programs when they worked, and used them when they retired.

CSP, who lost to Republican Frank Guinta last year by a 54-42 margin, had been hinting about this for quite some time, so I’m not surprised. However, it remains to be seen if she’ll have a clear path to the nomination. She was never as strong a campaigner as she was a progressive voice, so I wouldn’t be surprised if other Dems (like former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand) get in the race.

UPATE: See this must-read comment from Dean Barker for the real dope on this race. Dean isn’t just one of the smartest commentators on New Hampshire that there is, but he’s also one of the best bloggers around, period.

114 thoughts on “NH-01: Carol Shea-Porter to Seek Rematch”

  1. When she shocked everyone with her 2006 win. I’m willing to keep an open mind on a CSP comeback next year… Though I must say I suspect many folks in the NH Democratic Party may not be as open minded as I.

    1. He is exactly the type of Democrat that appeals to these kinds of places; socially liberal but fiscally moderate.

  2. CSP vs Steve Manchin? I like both, both will do well, both would be great votes in congress. I have full faith these two would also have a positive primary that wouldn’t turn negative (or hard negative). Let the people decide.

  3. Ann McLane Kuster was a strong progressive and a good campaigner. Carol Shea-Porter fulfills the first part of that but not the second. I really hope someone else wins the primary here. But I really hoped we weren’t going to have to deal with this.

    1. It was just that, in the course of about 470 different elections, people happened to end up with the current result.

    2. and honestly I don’t think there’s any large force towards divided government…what just ends up happening is there are swings back and forth from party to party, and oftentimes they happen in mid-terms where the president is not on the ballot.  If Obama had been on the ballot in 2010 he may also have fallen to the GOP wave (assuming the GOP had a credible candidate, lol).  So it’s not that people in 2010 wanted Obama as president but Republicans in Congress, or that people in 2006 wanted Bush as president but Democrats in Congress, it’s just the nature of mid-term elections where the president is not on the ballot and things swing away from him.

      A lot of people said that when Democrats took Congress in 2006 it made it more likely that a Republican would follow Bush as president, because of this desire for divided government.  I don’t think there is any evidence to support the belief that Obama did worse than he should have because his party already had Congress.

  4. win next year. New Hampshire will have an all women congressional representation. To bad one of them is Ayotte.

  5. People keep saying she’s a lousy campaigner. What specifically did she do wrong?

    I know she comes from the tougher of the two districts, so it’s not surprising her margin was naturally larger than Kusters.

  6. for when she asked a woman who was arguing against DADT at a committee hearing “When did you choose to be straight?” and she asked it so seriously too.

    I stood up and applauded

  7. * Do not use NH-02 as a guide to understanding NH-01.  Different demographics, two very different GOP candidates in Guinta and Bass, two very different press environments. (Charlie Bass is toast in 2012, btw.)

    * The name most often being floated right now besides CSP is not former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand or former State Senator Maggie Hassan (both of whom briefly flirted after the election with No Labels) but DNC member Joanne Dowdell.

    * In 2010 the NRCC made CSP their top target in New England, and, iirc, the whole northeast.  The DCCC was MIA.  More importantly, that district became ground zero for the money spent from the Citizens United decision. CSP’s own fundraising was better every cycle, especially given that she never takes business PAC money.

    * Frank Guinta’s mystery money scandal is still unresolved.  There is a current FEC investigation, and complaints filed with the Clerk of Congress and a US Attorney.  This could end up being nothing, or it could end up completely upending this race.

    * The perception of CSP as too liberal for her district is just that, a media perception, though a popular one.  A look at her votes and positions shows her in line with middle class, blue collar, seniors, and veterans’ concerns.  For example, she voted against TARP, which was in line with her district and was a huge supporter of the Naval Shipyard.  Her attention to veterans’ issues (she is a military spouse) has been the best that district has seen.

    * A brand new PPP poll shows that Frank Guinta has quickly lost favor and that NH-01 is winnable.

    * Something beltway pundits and other out-of-state analysts will miss is how energized the D base has become, and how indies have become awake and invested, in the wake of the state house GOP supermajority attempt to destroy NH with the budget.  This is the most interesting development of the past 3 months, and it wouldn’t surprise me if CSP has had that in her mind in the decision-making process for a run.

  8. I like Steve Marchand as a person, and I think he has some really solid personal political beliefs. But post-2010 he’s done some No Labels flirting, which concerns me about how aggressively he’d be willing to draw distinctions. And he has yet to prove himself on fundraising.

    Maybe an AMK type will emerge, in which case, great. But as much as I’ve been frustrated by the campaigns CSP has run, I think it’s plausible she’s the best candidate. Especially if she’ll start raising money now, and work hard on that. (Medium-large if, I realize.)

  9. with all women is Hawaii, Wyoming, and South Dakota. Of course, the latter two are at-large seats and Hawaii is only two.

  10. Let’s wait and see.  Some people go from shoddy campaigner to master of public relations; other people go the other way.  You never know.

  11. I remember that in 06 she ran specifically as an antiwar candidate, and that issue has receded. She got thumped in 2010, and Guinta was perceived as a weakish candidate. Beyond that I don’t know.  

  12. NH-01 is two points more Republican than NH-02, but CSP’s margin of defeat was 11 points more than AMK’s. And in 2008, Paul Hodes’s margin of victory was more than twice CSP’s. It’s not just that she was too liberal; her fundraising was always pretty bad, too.  

  13. very scandal clad opponent beat her 54-42. The year contributed to the margin but the year was not all. She got washed in on a tide and it would have been more narrow in a neutral year but she probably still would have lost.  I mean she also only narrowly won in the great year that was 2008. She is just too vocally liberal for NH. They pride themselves in being centrists and CSP is the opposite. I’m not saying they won’t elect a liberal, but they don’t want a fire breather type.  

  14. story about her leaving tons of boxes of stuff in her office for guinta to inherit. not 100% sure on the truth, but she seems like the type of woman who would do that.

    i just don’t think she comes across as anything but a very liberal not-very-nice woman, a la pelosi

  15. Look how crazy the nh state leg swung in 2010.  NH had a huge GOP wave in 2010.  It’s what makes Lynch’s numbers so remarkable.

  16. 2010: $1,647,774

    2008: $1,543,513

    2006: $360,380

    She did reasonably well for a challenger that no one expected to win in 2006 and did very well in her two re-election years.  In fact, she outraised her opponents in both 2008 and 2010.

  17. that she lost a lot of voters. It was more than Guinta gained a lot of voters from what Bradley received in 2006.  

  18. I’d always rather have a good fundraiser than a bad fundraiser. And really she did underperform in more ways than just fundraising, as her past election results show.

  19. $1.5 mil is not doing very well. According to Opensecrets, the average Democratic member of congress running for reelection in 2010 raised $1.6 mil, and many of those people were in noncompetitive districts and thus raised less money. Most candidates in similar situations to her raised $2 mil or more. She wasn’t terrible, but she was definitely sub-average.

  20. but I always found it amusing that a decent number of people that won in 2006 weren’t expected to, while the more contested seats in states like Ohio didn’t fall to us. There’s Nancy Boyda, Carol Shea-Porter. Who are the others?  

  21. think those stories are bullshit. And if they aren’t in this case, then so what? If she worst thing that you can say about her is that she was a little bitter and a little lazy, then she’s a saint. She was supposed to be great for her constituents, which is what counts the most.

    As far as Pelosi, I’ve never heard of her described as nasty. Where is this coming from?  

  22. if you can’t post a single link of why you’d feel that way, then it’s all in your head.  I would have given you a pass on CSP, but mentioning Pelosi get’s the big, oh hell no.  Sorry she’s the she-bitch from Gayopolis as perception versus reality strikes again.  Pretty sure that needs to be the title of a study, “The She-Bitch from Gayopolis: How Nancy Pelosi was Used in the 2010 Elections to Make a Man Who Cried Like a Woman Speaker of the House.”

  23. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-50

    This is Tom Coburn, speaking at a town hall meeting, stood up for Nancy as a nice person in front of his Oklahoma constituents.

    “I’m 180 degrees in opposition to the speaker – she’s a nice lady,” he said. The crowd could be heard responding unfavorably to his characterization.

    “Come on now, she is a nice – how many of you all have met her?” continued Coburn. “She’s a nice person. She’s a nice person.”

  24. story about her leaving tons of boxes of stuff in her office for guinta to inherit.

    everyone does that when offices change hands

  25. But Ari Fleischer made up quite a few lies about the Clintons trashing the White House as they left in early 2001 – all of which were bullshit (“ripping the W keys off keyboards”), and all of which were dutifully repeated by the press. It just showed you what a pathological shit Fleischer was (and the entire Cheney administration) that they decided to start off by trashing Clinton for no reason (except to fan the flames for their mouth-breathing base).

  26. and everything to do with her being a bad campaigner. I’ve seen her speak, and it’s not impressive. Her “bottom 99%” shtick comes across as REALLY forced.

  27. For one, she won twice and only very narrowly because New Hampshire is always a swing state. 2010 was just a bad year across the board. Democrats don’t have to run centrists everywhere, it’s just a matter of getting good candidates some places.

  28. and this is a Bush district. It doesn’t surprise me.

    If Guinta’s fortunes fall, I think Shea Porter can narrowly win. It definitely looks like New Hampshire is a pendulum swinging at lightning speed.

  29. Jim Leach’s district was trending blue, but I always heard Loebsack’s win described as quite the upset.

  30. Kissell comes to mind as well.  He didn’t win, but nearly won and did come back to win in 2008.

  31. a decent number of Republicans won last year who weren’t expected to (Buerkle, Farenthold, Craavack, Walsh)

    To answer your question; Shea Porter, Loebsack, Harry Mitchell, Jerry McNerney, John Hall

  32. No one saw it coming, but in retrospect it was all but inevitable. The district is D+7, which is well to the left of the bluest district held by a Republican even after the 2010 wave. (IL10 isn’t really D+6, as its PVI is biased by Obama’s favorite-son run in 2008. PA6 and PA11 are D+4.)  

  33. your right. Though being such a vocal liberal hurt her I think. It is a centrist state and while I like her politics she is too vocal in her views for the state I think. Still you are right that it was not the sole reason.  

  34. 2006 was my learning cycle so I don’t know the proper political mind-set leading up to the election, but a lot of shocking things happened that year.  While she was one of the most surprising wins, her district certainly provides a path to victory for a GOP incumbent without a cycle like 2006.  (While 2010 was a cycle with one of the most highest turn-overs, in context of the over-all decade, I think 2006 was a much bigger negative to the GOP than 2010 was to the Democrats.)

  35. as a nice and gracious woman who knows what she has to do to get things done. A good leader, but not generally like in women.

  36. i meant the way she always came across to the average swing voter.

    i liked her, thought she was a great leader and did some amazing things for our country.

    i’m talking about perception, not reality

  37. I’m rather confused that he’s put in the upset category. He was running in a marginal district, against a far-right gadfly, and he was a sitting state senator and long time former City Councilman and mayor of Tempe, that districts population base. Hell there’s even a statue of him in front of city hall. He also raised close to 2 million dollars and was considered to be in one of the marquee races of the cycle. How does that even compare to the other members of that list?

  38. of not “expected” to win, but Renee Ellmers in NC-02 is definitely a “not ready for prime time” winner who makes her entire district look bad for electing her.  I mean, her entire platform was basically “I hate Muslims”.

    And it worked.

  39. Voting for HR was perhaps one of the most fiscally conservative things done this past decade.

  40. You made it all the way to #2 in the top ten phony hit jobs against CSP:




    Shawn Millerick, and then uncritically stenographed by the Hill, Real Clear Politics, the Wall St. Journal, and Politics Daily, all of whom changed their headlines and/or contents after getting corrected.

    CLAIM: NHJournal, on whose board Patrick Hynes serves:

    Shea-Porter implies Chinese cost her election, helped Guinta

    Outgoing Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter implied the Chinese cost her re-election in November and secretly funneled money to help her Republican opponent Frank Guinta during a post-election interview with ABC News.

    REALITY: WMUR’s News 9 Team:

    News 9 watched the roundtable interview, and the host’s question and Shea-Porter’s lead-up to that statement never mentioned her election loss or her opponent, Frank Guinta.

    But bloggers used that quote and others from different parts of the interview to claim Shea-Porter was blaming anonymous Chinese donations to Guinta for her loss.

  41. that he even had a chance. Giffords was a shoo-in, never got the impression Mitchell would be Hayworth.  

  42. Pelosi actually is a very likeable lady.

    Republicans successfully demonized her into an image that is not remotely close to reality.

    In fact Pelosi’s loyalists in the House are pretty broad ideologically, indicative of Pelosi being personally very well-liked and highly respected for her skills.  There’s this perception that Hoyer is the “moderate” and Blue Dogs’ choice, and Pelosi the leftie, but that’s not true when you look back at who their allies were in the heat of their rivalry over the previous decade.  Pelosi had a lot more Blue Dog and other centrist loyalists, and Hoyer had more liberals than people realize.

    I like Pelosi and, frankly, she did a good job as Speaker.  We didn’t lose the House because of her, and her remaining the House Dem leader won’t prevent us from taking back the House if the opportunity is there.  And the way the GOP House is operating, we might have a better shot at taking back the House quickly than we ever dreamed of.

  43. he’s one of the most hardcore conservatives in the Senate but he actually goes out of his way to point out that Democrats are often nice people.  This wouldn’t be newsworthy if it wasn’t for so many other Republicans calling Democrats the second coming of Stalin.

  44. Loebsack was a sacrificial lamb, nothing more.  Dems had recruited good challengers against Leach a couple times in some previous cycles to no avail, and they’d given up.  Loebsack raised hardly any money in 2006 and had no real political skills.  But he was (and is) the nicest guy, very honorable, very even-tempered, and gracious toward his opponents including toward Leach even as they were in a hotly contested race.  And Leach was one of the only GOPers to vote against the Iraq War, which was the issue of 2006!  And for all that, Loebsack still won.  Such is a wave.

  45. But I can’t with your others. Frank Guinta had an expensive and divisive Republican primary where he was publically abandoned by many members of the Party establishment. What’s more is that he was hounded by some very public ethical issues, and all in all ran a mediocre campaign. He was a bad candidate, compared to Charlie Bass who was at least a competent campaigner with a somewhat, (unfairly earned), moderate reputation. I expected CSP to lose, but I thought it would be close, 5-6 points at most. Instead she lost by more than twice that.

    I want to see Steve Marchand as the Democratic candidate.  

  46. whatever the people accusing someone else of being not fiscally moderate want it to mean.

  47. That’s the problem when you forget about something you are typing and come back to it sporadically over an hour.  Let me do re-do this.

    She was a surprising win, but so were many others.  And, 2006 was worse for the GOP than 2010 was for the Democrats in terms of people being tired and it being a slap in the face.  (In hindsight, and after getting to reflect on it all, horrible economy during a mid-term election after two huge wave elections; it all adds up before we even get to the Dems playing politics like noobs.) In NH-2, the GOP have a definite path to victory beyond what would was the 2010 cycle.  I’d rather see some fresh blood, especially after seeing Anne Kuster come from almost no where and come within 1.5%.  CSP is great, but I’d rather explore what else is out there.  Although, the all-female Congressional delegation is a political wet dream.

  48. Imagine what would happen if the wacko right won a big enough majority in one house of your state’s legislature to pass their entire wish list, and deliberately decided to spend their session calling attention to their militancy.

    Not only are they passing a whole bunch of hilariously unworkable (nullification of federal laws they don’t like) and/or profoundly irresponsible legislation, not to mention things like “Get out of the U.N!” resolutions, seldom does a day goes by when one of their ranks doesn’t utter something that calls national attention to their state.  There was that “eugenics” guy, the one who thought polio somehow cured itself, the one who suggested holding a bake sale to pay for chemotherapy…and one of their top leaders was furious enough at the local Catholic bishop for daring to criticize the state budget to refer to him as a “pedophile pimp.'”

    To some extent, it’s always amateur hour in New Hampshire due to the size (and volunteer nature) of that legislature, but it’s REALLY amateur hour now.

    I strongly suspect that this is not really what most people thought they were getting when they put all of those Rs on their ballots last fall.  

  49. This was on the front page of today’s Concord Monitor: the Shaker Regional School District sent termination notices to all 128 teachers this week, because the wingnutty state lege just cut one million dollars from the aid that had been in the SRSD budget, including special ed funds, bus funds, and building loan help. Without a budget, they had to inform all the teachers that they could not promise them a job in the next school year. This is already upsetting a lot of people in the affected towns (Belmont and Canterbury) who just recently voted to provide $200,000 in funding to keep things going BEFORE this new shortfall. Other towns are starting to feel the pinch of the draconian cuts too.

    ‘Bully’ O’Brien declared vacuously that nobody’s property taxes would go up to make up the shortfall from the ill-conceived cuts in state aid to towns on virtually any topic you can name. His basis for this was that every town would prefer to cut services (such as school, special ed, libraries, etc) rather than raise taxes, because he’s not capable of understanding the fundamental basis of civilization, of people wanting to work together for a better life for everyone. As soon as people start feeling the pinch from what O’Brien and J.D. ‘Pedophile Pimp’ Bettancourt are doing, they’re going to turn on Republicans viciously. Already people have expressed a preference for Democratic state control by a 49-41 margin, and most towns haven’t even felt the real hit yet; that’s going to come next year (just in time for the elections).

  50. And if recent polls are anything to go by, we’ve not got voter’s remorse on our hands.

  51. so much for my ability to type with one hand while holding a half-eaten apple in the other.

  52. I just remember hearing some refer to him as Tempe’s personal Jesus. (At least I think that was him.) You’d think that people would be nicer to their Jesus and not vote him out of office, you know?

    It’ll certainly be interesting to see what happens with the immigration law now that it seems to have stumbled in court and/or with the Justice Department and how it will affect the elections in 2012.  

  53. 2008 was actually the high water mark for Dems in AZ, winning 5 of the 8 congressional districts despite McCain being at the top of the ticket. 2010 was ugly, but that was hardly unique to AZ. It’s still one of the few states where Dems have more seats than they did after 2004.

  54. The problem was uber-Republican Scottsdale, plus moderates/independents in the southern tier of AZ-05 turning against him.  

  55. lost everything else.

    You’d think that people would be nicer to their Jesus and not vote him out of office, you know?

    This is Arizona. If Jesus came down from heaven and told them to be nice to the Mexicans, they’d all covert to whatever religion the Hebrews were trying to create when they built the damn golden cafe.  

  56. …to actually punish the bankers that caused this crisis and get us out of these lousy foreign wars, we’ll probably see massive swings in voter sentiment every few years until life returns to some sense of normalcy.  If nothing changes, it could take a decade or more.

    The two big elephants in the room are Wall Street (including the housing crisis) and the wars and neither party is touching them.  Voters will continue to punish those in power until someone actually addresses these issues.  Both parties have ignored the giant elephants in the room, and they both have paid (and will continue to pay) the price for doing so.

    So, we’ll likely see major flips until the housing market (not just the economy, but the housing market) returns to some semblance of normal and we get out of our major foreign conflicts.  That’s going to be  long time.  Hang on for the wild ride!

  57. that until things become a little less turbulent–which will not happen if we’ve still got trouble in the housing market and wars happening and so on–we will see swings because Independents, who are fickle, will keep switching but then get mad at the new party in power once they are in power, or something similar. That may not be exactly true, but it’s not the craziest idea ever.

    What may throw a wrench into that possible sequence of events is if the Democrats can exploit demographic trends to hold power long enough to try to do something about it, without worrying that they will be killed at the polls soon after. If that happens, they will probably hold power for a long time.  

  58. No one is addressing their problems and concerns.  Many of them still have jobs, but their houses are worthless and not one thing has been done to address this problem or the people who caused it.  And the foreign wars are draining our treasury with no real benefit, yet they seem to go on eternally.

    Indies are going to kick everyone out in power until someone adequately addresses these issues or things get dramatically better.

    I’ll leave you with a quote by an unnamed Dem congressman, “In 2008, the country voted out the party of endless wars and bank bailouts.  In 2010, the country voted out the party of endless wars and bank bailouts.”

    In 2012, I suspect there will be more of the same.

  59. ever was from Eric Alterman’s What Liberal Media? about Ari Fleischer: “This press secretary, as many have noted, is remarkable for his unwillingness to answer even the most basic question with a straight answer.”

  60. A lot of people were saying some really ridiculous things, as though people like Bright, Taylor, and Etheridge lost because Nancy Pelosi was Speaker. They lost because they were Democrats during a wave election in heavily Republican districts, that would have happened no matter who was Speaker (hell, Dan Boren could have been Speaker, and those Democrats would have been spanked just as badly).

  61. Etheridge lost in part because of his famous outburst.  Being an experienced politician he should have known better.

    Bright was a freshman Dem in an R+16 district, in a Republican-favoring year.

    Taylor is probably the only one that would solely have to be explained by the national politics.  He’s a longtime representative and was even famous for his work for his district in the aftermath of Katrina.

  62. Let’s just make sure that we don’t have a bloody primary battle, either at the top or among ourselves. :)

  63. is a moderate voter with conservative rhetoric.  voted against defunding PP, pretty pro-environment

    ironically, usually it’s the other way around

  64. * Both GOP activists in the primary, and Dem activists in the general, thought the Guinta money scandal would be important to voters.  For reasons I don’t fully understand other than it was hard to capture in a soundbite, it wasn’t. (That doesn’t mean it won’t be with future developments.)

    * GOP elites, including the Union Leader, believed that Guinta would be sunk in the general because of the money scandal, so they put some effort into defeating him in primary.  But the plan failed because the leading alternative was Sean Mahoney, who ran a media campaign from the air, and had little organization on the ground.  As weak as Guinta the man is, his public speaking is slick and his ground game was much better than Mahoney’s.  Most importantly, he picked up the (then ascendant) Tea People crowd early on – Mahoney and the others missed the boat on that.

    * I think you will see Steve Marchand as a Democratic candidate – for governor, however.

    * I disagree on Bass – he is a perennially lazy fundraiser and campaigner, though he did try a little harder in 2010, which was a good thing for him because he won by a nose in what was a huge wave election for Rs.  I literally do not see how it is possible for him to win in 2012.

    * The point spread for CSP-Guinta to me has everything to do with a wave election, the Titanic-level fail of the Hodes campaign from above, a D governor who isn’t a team player for D campaigning much, an energized Tea People crowd (compare that to today, where they could get barely a few hundred to the tax day rally despite four POTUS candidates!) but most importantly a maximum of focus from the NRCC and Citizens United money, and a minimum of help from DCCC.  I think the major differences in 2012 will be the general election factor, a de-enthused Tea base, an energized D base, and more assistance from DCCC.  I also expect CSP to be a better campaigner without her DC work in front of her, and also because there will be a primary which will help to exercise the campaign muscles.  The annoying similarities will be the perennially R-leaning media environment and Citizens’ United money.

    Disclosure: I have supported both Marchand (for Senate in 08 before he dropped out for Shaheen) and Shea-Porter (throughout) in the past.

  65. the immoral, ideological House budget manages to attack just about every constituency in the state.

    But I think this captures perfectly what I was referring to above.  Reuters:

    Four potential Republican presidential hopefuls showed up, but the turnout for the New Hampshire Tea Party tax day rally was rather tepid.

    On a brilliant spring day in Concord, perfect for a rally, only about 300 came to protest taxes and the Obama Administration, a far cry from the robust rallies held ahead of the 2010 elections.

    …Local attendees noted that the gathering was about one-tenth the size of a recent rally in support of public sector unions that packed the green in front of the State House.

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