- Associated Press - Thursday, November 3, 2016

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - In a story Nov. 3 about the 1st Congressional District debate, The Associated Press reported erroneously the makeup of the district. The 1st Congressional District covers eastern New Hampshire, not western New Hampshire.

A corrected version of the story is below:

US House district candidates trade jabs in final debate

Republican Frank Guinta and Democrat Carol Shea-Porter are teaming up against Independent Shawn O'Connor in the final televised debate for New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District seat

BY KATHLEEN RONAYNE

Associated Press

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - Republican Rep. Frank Guinta and Democrat Carol Shea-Porter teamed up against Independent Shawn O'Connor Thursday night in the final televised debate between the candidates for New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District.

In their fourth consecutive contest against each other, Guinta and Shea-Porter are longtime rivals who rarely agree on anything. But they both spent the debate painting O'Connor as a political opportunist willing to say anything for votes. The debate aired live on WMUR-TV.

Frank and I have a right to be a little confused about how to define him,” Shea-Porter said after an exchange where she and Guinta openly laughed at O'Connor.

The 1st Congressional District covers eastern New Hampshire and the city of Manchester. Guinta is the incumbent, winning the seat in 2010 and again in 2014. Shea-Porter held the seat from 2006 to 2010 and 2012 to 2014. O'Connor is hoping to seize on voter fatigue with the two and is pitching himself as a solution to gridlock in Washington.

“I worked with Democrats and Republicans. My opponents are hyper-partisan and so they mock me for that,” O'Connor said. “I actually think that there’s some value in that.”

O'Connor is the first third-party candidate to appear on a debate stage in a major New Hampshire race in recent memory. He became an Independent after repeatedly feuding with the Democratic Party and is now mostly self-financing his campaign. Guinta and Shea-Porter both criticized him for calling himself a moderate after supporting Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the presidential primary.

“People need to understand and appreciate that he is not this true Independent, that is disingenuous,” Guinta said.

Beyond repeated questioning of O'Connor’s motives, the candidates debated foreign policy and how best to fight the state’s drug crisis. They also were asked to defend their party’s presidential nominees.

Guinta continues to stand behind Republican Donald Trump, calling the election a “binary choice,” while Shea-Porter is a strong backer of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. O'Connor, meanwhile, said he hasn’t decided how to cast his vote.

“I’m going to make a game-time decision,” he said.

Guinta touted his bipartisan work to fight New Hampshire’s heroin and opioid crisis. He and Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster, also of New Hampshire, co-chair a heroin task force in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Shea-Porter complimented Guinta for his bipartisan work, but quickly chided him for not working to get funding for programs to combat the crisis more quickly.

“Without money, it’s just talk,” she said.

If elected, O'Connor pledged to focus on economic development, tax cuts for the middle class and increasing the minimum wage. He has pledged to work for minimum wage - about $15,000 annually - and donate the rest of his $174,000 congressional salary to charity

Shea-Porter also said she’d work to raise the minimum wage and said improving infrastructure would be one of her top priorities.

Guinta said he’d work to limit government regulations to help small businesses and the economy grow.

On foreign policy, none of the candidates said they’d support sending a significant force of U.S. ground troops to aid in the battle to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State group.

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