CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Former Democratic congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter has filed paperwork to win back the seat she lost to Republican Frank Guinta in 2014, following up on comments she made after the Federal Elections Commission found Guinta accepted illegal campaign donations from his parents.
Shea-Porter served for two terms in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District before Guinta defeated her in 2010. She won in 2012, only to lose to him again last November. It’s possible they could face each other for a fourth time in 2016.
Shea-Porter filed a statement of candidacy with the commission on Friday, allowing her to raise and spend money on a congressional race. In May, she said she was prepared to reclaim the seat if Guinta resigns, something Guinta has said he will not do. The filing allows her to seek a bid in 2016, should Guinta run again.
Guinta, who has said he will seek re-election, insists the $355,000 for his 2010 campaign belonged to him because for years he contributed to and managed a “family pot” of money. But in a settlement made public in May, the FEC fined the Republican $15,000 and ordered him to repay his parents.
Last fall, Guinta ran an ad calling Shea-Porter a liar for saying he remained under investigation by the FEC. In an email to supporters shortly after the settlement came out, Shea-Porter said she agrees with Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte and others who have called on Guinta to resign.
“Guinta broke the law, used illegal funds in his campaign, and proceeded to lie and cheat for five years,” she said. “I stand ready to win this seat back and restore honesty, integrity and competence to the NH-01 seat.”
Regarding Shea-Porter’s filing, spokeswoman Naomi Andrews said in an email: “As the Congresswoman has said, she will run in the special election when House Republican Leaders finish reviewing the case and Congressman Guinta resigns. The filing also allows for a 2016 option.”
Jay Ruais, a spokesman for Guinta, said the congressman “remains focused on collaborating with Granite Staters to devise solutions and fix the problems we face in New Hampshire. It is this commitment that has resulted in two of the Congressman’s bipartisan amendments - one to increase funding for drug courts and the other to protect the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard from closure - passing the House of Representatives unanimously.”
A WMUR Granite State Poll released last month showed support for Guinta was eroding, with more than 40 percent thinking he should resign amid his campaign finance troubles, and only 5 percent saying they would back his re-election bid.
Both Shea-Porter and Guinta already have company for 2016. Former University of New Hampshire business dean Dan Innis filed his statement of candidacy for the Republican primary. In 2014, he finished second to Guinta in a four-person primary race.
Shawn O’Connor of Bedford, founder of a test preparation and admissions counseling firm, also is seeking the Democratic nomination.
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