GREENLAND — Some are calling the contest a "three-match." For the third time Democrat Carol Shea-Porter will face Republican Frank Guinta in the state's 1st Congressional District contest this fall.
In 2010, Guinta unseated Shea-Porter. In 2012, Shea-Porter returned the favor. In 2014, the race is so close recent polls show the race tied.
Of the 435 contests for the U.S. House this is the only one in the country that is a three-match. This means that for voters in Manchester, the Lakes Region and the Seacoast, who vote in this district it is deja vu all over again — and again.
Many ask if these two are really the best the area can up with. After all, if you believe the polls, neither are particularly well liked. But focusing on just these two misses the bigger picture. To understand why this is happening you also must mention others, namely President Barack Obama and two guys named Andrew Hosmer and Dan Innis.
The Shea-Porter versus Guinta match-up, after all, is the product of the current state of American and New Hampshire politics. To boil it all down, the reason we have these candidates a third time is that neither one can be defeated in a primary and then in the general election. They either ride the political wave in or out.
It is a pattern of sorts even for New Hampshire. A University of Minnesota political scientist found that since the 1850s one of out of five Congressional races in the Granite State were rematches. It has been 50 years since the last "three-match" took place in the state.
David Wasserman, a House race expert for the Cook Political Report, said "it's logical" Shea-Porter and Guinta decided to mount comebacks.
"They know well that their prospects depend more on the pendulum of the national environment and turnout than their own campaigns and personal qualities," Wasserman said.
This is where Andrew Hosmer and Dan Innis come in. Hosmer, now a Democratic state Senator from Laconia, thought he could challenge Shea-Porter in her Democratic primary after she lost in 2010. He even got some political luck during his short lived primary against Shea-Porter: Portsmouth's Joanne Dowdell, another female progressive ran and possibly splitting Shea-Porter's base. In the end, Shea-Porter had such huge appeal among those who bother to vote in our state's low turnout primaries, she could not be beat. This point became so obvious that Hosmer and Dowdell dropped out of the race before they even got their names on the ballot.
In September, Guinta had an opponent for his Republican primary, facing off against Innis, the former University of New Hampshire business school dean. But among the most active base voters, Guinta was their choice for a third primary in a row.
In this way the Congressional politics in New Hampshire is not all that different from Congressional politics everywhere else, where all that really matters are the primaries. Over decades, partisans drew up Congressional districts meant to advantage one party or the other. In Republican district, for example, all that matters is winning the primary, because the general election is no contest. The same concept is true about Democratic districts. This is part of the reason why American politics has become so polarized: For the U.S. House candidates there is no incentive to play to the political center.
Though both of New Hampshire's Congressional districts are relatively evenly split between the parties, which does make them unique. But this means they are also more susceptible to the national political swings.
This is where Obama comes in. When Obama was popular locally like in 2008 and 2012, Shea-Porter, the Democrat, won. When he wasn't so much, like in 2010, Guinta won. Guinta is hoping that Obama's low approval ratings will help him again this year.
Here is the crazy thing: if Guinta does win in November, odds are that he will face Shea-Porter again in 2016.
(James Pindell covers New Hampshire politics for WMUR. You can follow his breaking news and analysis at WMUR.com/politicalscoop.)
Last Updated on Monday, 06 October 2014 10:21
To The Daily Sun,
A recent letter the editor by a Mr. Hackmann giving a glowing recommendation of Senator Hosmer was based on events before he and his family arrived in the state. So let me pass on some relevant facts.
Number one fact, the 2011-2012 Legislature assumed office facing a tremendous budget hole of $800 million left to us when the prior Democratic Legislature overspent and even bonded operating expenses. Our states recent credit reduction is, in fact, a direct result of that lingering debt load the Democrats gave the state.
And perhaps where Mr. Hackmann came from debt is not an issue, but the New Hampshire Republicans by law had to balance that budget and we did, without bipartisan support. We did what every wise family does. We determined how much we had to spend and spent every dime we had. That alone is what forced the cuts he mentioned to UNH. Not being greedy, or mean, or shortsighted. A pure lack of money. Money that comes from taxpayers by the way.
The state government only can spend what it raises from taxation. The "massive" cuts UNH replaced almost immediately by fundraising from alumni. Just like every other state school (except UNH ) does regularly.
Finally, Mr. H. might want to ask his "education" senator, what cuts he would have made to the budget if he didn't agree with the UNH cuts. Or what taxes would he have raised to pay for them. Only two choices. Remember a finite amount of money existed and we had to correct the $800 million overspending.
Also, ask the education senator why only his kids deserve to attend schools that provide, in his words, a superior education. He voted against allowing lower-income families the same opportunity. Education only matters if you are rich?
Kenneth Kreis, Sr.
Last Updated on Monday, 06 October 2014 10:02
To The Daily Sun,
Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter used to be a gritty populist. While she might have been an extreme liberal that I rarely found common ground with, I'll give credit where credit is due, and can say that at least she wasn't just another Washington D.C., clone, loyal to lobbyists and career politicians.
Sadly though, that isn't the case anymore. Money and power changed Carol Shea-Porter. Now, she is just another pawn of Nancy Pelosi and the big money donors who control Capitol Hill. She votes nearly 100 percent of the time with her party and refuses to be accessible to her constituents with town hall meetings or forums.
I want to be represented by elected officials who care about my thoughts and want to reflect my beliefs. While I understand I might not agree with my congresswoman all of the time, I still deserve a chance to explain to her why I think she is wrong on a particular issue. Washington has change Carol so much that she doesn't even give me that opportunity anymore.
Last Updated on Friday, 03 October 2014 10:13
To The Daily Sun,
To date, the attorneys hired by the Belknap Commissioners have charged Belknap County over ten thousand dollars for their services. Similarly, the attorney hired by the Belknap Convention has bills of over ten thousand dollars. The partisan suit instituted by Rep. Gulick and signed on to by her Democrat colleagues cost about seventy-five hundred dollars and can best be described as frivolous.
Two out of the three sitting commissioners will not be in office in a few months. Does it make sense to continue to litigate budgetary authority when
the statutes involved are clear? They are so clear that a case can be made that the opinion letter issued by the Exeter firm retained by the Belknap
Commissioners could be cause for a malpractice suit against them.
It is time for the Belknap Commissioners whose hold on power is short-lived, as is the hold of anyone in power, to consider the long term consequences
of spending precious resources in an irresponsible manner.
Rep. Dick Burchell
Last Updated on Friday, 03 October 2014 10:08
To The Daily Sun,
It's amazing what you can find on the Internet. Take for example an article entitled, "Establishment Rocked as Yale Professor Discovers Tea Party Members are More Scientifically Literate."
According to the research done by Yale Professor, Dan M. Kahan, individuals who have an affiliation with the Tea Party are slightly more scientifically literate than the non-Tea Party population.
That shouldn't come as any surprise. After all no one in the Tea Party voted for Obama, which is a clear indication that they are more scientifically literate.
Professor Kahan goes on to say, "What this proves is most people who have a negative opinion of Tea Party member's intelligence usually form their opinions based on misrepresentations from both television and online sources."
No kidding! While the non-Tea Party progressive socialist are engrossed in watching MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and "Dancing with the Stars," the Tea Party members are watching the Fox News Network, and so they are better informed as they receive unbiased facts presented by well-educated reporters and commentators.
Professor Kahan then said, "I've got to confess, though, I found this result surprising ... I'm a little embarrassed, but mainly I'm just glad that I no longer hold this particular mistaken view."
Congratulations Professor Kahan, stand up and take a bow. You're probably the only honest professor in that den of iniquity (Yale).
It's a shame that the Republican Party leaders (the grumpy old guard, aka RINOs) fail to share Professor Kahan view of the Tea Party. Instead they are committing political suicide as young energetic politicians are embracing the Tea Party and what it stands for: The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and In God We Trust. It's just food for thought.
Last Updated on Friday, 03 October 2014 10:03