Too Shea
It seems like the announcement that former Democratic Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter will challenge freshman Republican Congressman Frank Guinta to reclaim her seat in 2012 has generated a collective non-reaction from New Hampshire political observers. Maybe it’s simply because everyone is focused with increasing intensity on the accelerating pace of the presidential primary here, but I’m not so sure. While I have been tough on Shea-Porter over the years, I have also noted on occasion that she is a more tenacious politician than many political observers give her credit for being.
So, I guess I'm not surprised to hear that she is running to regain her seat. Nonetheless, I just don’t see a compelling rationale at this point for her to try again. I don’t yet have a sense of who the alternative Democrat would be, and this is not meant to be an endorsement of Frank Guinta. But the type of progressivism (circa 2006) that propelled Shea-Porter into office won’t likely work for her the next time around either, and I’m not sure she really has some other ideological paradigm (or pragmatic alternative) in mind.
In contrast, Annie Kuster, who also recently announced her intention to run again after a close loss to Congressman Charlie Bass, at least seems to have a somewhat different approach in mind. You may recall that Kuster pivoted away from Shea-Porter-style progressivism, once she had the Democratic nomination wrapped up in 2010, and she hasn’t looked back since. Although I think her frugal Yankee mantra may eventually start to grate on voters, it demonstrates that Kuster understands the need to recalibrate for the next election. Perhaps Shea-Porter eventually will too, but I have no reason to think so.


Posted On: 04-23-2011 09:06:06 by Jim Splaine
Dean -- if the "New Hampshire political elites" of whom you speak are Republicans, I suppose they would avoid responding to Carol Shea-Porter's candidacy for 2012. If you're referring to Democrats, you haven't been checking into enough. There's a lot of excitement, and support, for Carol where Democrats talk. I'm excited about her candidacy, and she has no particular "style" of progressivism -- she's pragmatic, she's a fighter, and she does good things for people. THAT will be an impressive contrast to the greed and corporate-interest Republican field in 2012. What 2010 did for Democrats is shore up our support, because now the voting public sees what they get by buying Republican Party rhetoric.

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