Incumbents Bass, Guinta win GOP Congress primaries
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s two Republican congressmen easily defeated little-known primary opponents Tuesday to advance to a general election that will be a rematch of 2010.
In the 1st District, Rep. Frank Guinta brushed aside Vern Clough of Dover and Rick Parent of Wolfeboro, setting up another showdown with Democrat Carol Shea-Porter, whom he unseated two years ago.
In the 2nd District, Rep. Charles Bass will again face Democrat Ann McLane Kuster, whom he narrowly beat in 2010 to reclaim a seat he had previously held for six terms. Bass easily claimed victory over Will Dean of Amherst, Miroslaw Dziedzkic of Windham, Dennis Lamare of Lee and Gerard Beloin of Concord.
In a telephone interview from Washington, Bass said the core issue of the general election campaign will be who is best equipped and willing to break the ‘‘economic and political stalemate’’ that has gripped the country.
‘‘I believe that government is too big, it spends too much, and frankly, it’s standing in the way of real economic recovery,’’ he said. ‘‘I certainly believe the path to recovery is to get spending under control, get the debt and deficits down and do something different than what has been done in the last four years.’’
Guinta said his supporters sent a strong message Tuesday that middle-class job creation should be Washington’s top priority, pointing to the nearly 30 job-related bills he backed and the half-dozen job fairs he held in New Hampshire.
‘‘Together, as Granite Staters, we will ensure we do not go back to the days of former Congresswoman Shea-Porter’s Pelosi agenda of wasteful stimulus spending and job-killing tax increases on small businesses and middle-class working families,’’ he said in a statement. ‘‘Our economy, our children and our grandchildren just can’t afford it.’’
Neither Shea-Porter, who served in the 1st District for two terms and lives in Rochester, nor Kuster, an attorney from Hopkinton, had primary opponents. Both have cast themselves as champions of the middle class and have been campaigning against their former rivals for months. Shea-Porter said Tuesday she looks forward to contrasting her record with Guinta's.
The 1st District tends to be more conservative than the 2nd, where Kuster, lost to Bass by fewer than 4,000 votes in 2010. On Tuesday, Bass said he will continue to emphasize his independence and willingness to reach across the aisle. He said he was proud to be one of eight lawmakers — four from each party — who proposed a budget built around recommendations of the president’s deficit reduction commission as proof of his commitment to bipartisan solutions. It got just 37 votes.
‘‘Despite the fact that my opponent characterized that vote as pitiful, I think it is in fact where America will be next year,’’ he said. ‘‘I believe I have the right message, the right policy at the right time not only for New Hampshire but for America.’’
Though Guinta defeated Shea-Porter by 12 percentage points in 2010, this year looks to be much closer. A WMUR-TV Granite State Poll released in mid-August showed both races about even.
Kuster started the month with about $1.1 million in cash on hand to Bass’s $850,000, according to financial disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Shea-Porter reported just under $423,000 on hand; Guinta had nearly $811,000, but also a $313,000 debt.