CONCORD, N.H. — The fourth matchup between Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta and Democrat Carol Shea-Porter was anything but a foregone conclusion.
Sixteen months ago, leaders in Guinta’s own party were urging him to resign after the Federal Election Commission said he took $355,000 in illegal campaign donations from his parents. His poll numbers and fundraising totals plummeted, but he battled back to beat his primary challenger, Rich Ashooh, on Tuesday by fewer than 700 voters.
Ashooh’s spokesman said Wednesday he would not seek a recount.
Shea-Porter, who faced no opposition in the Democratic primary, held the seat for two terms until Guinta defeated her in 2010. She beat him in 2012 to regain the seat, but he won it back in 2014.
In 2015, the FEC concluded that Guinta broke the law by accepting donations above the legal limit from his parents during his first campaign. Guinta for years insisted he and his wife had saved it through years of hard work, but later told the commission the money was from a “family pot” he contributed to and managed for his parents and siblings.
Asked Wednesday if the financing scandal is behind him, he said the people have spoken and that he’s focused on public policy, not politics. In particular, he said, he’s proud of the work of the bipartisan task force he co-led to address the nation’s heroin crisis.
“At the end of the day what people I think are going to appreciate is the passion and the dedication that I have to the issues that matter to the state,” he said. “We have been very effective in being able to convince the president that the six different pieces of legislation that we got signed into law were in the best interests of the state and the country. This, to me, will be strictly on who’s going to be the most effective person on getting results for the people of New Hampshire and the country.”
Shea-Porter, meanwhile, said she will focus on equal pay, child care and paid family leave, while also holding Guinta accountable for what she called his “constant deception.”
“His brazen lies about illegal campaign contributions, his record, and his unfounded personal attacks have no place in our state,” she said. “He has repeatedly lied to the people of New Hampshire, and when caught red-handed, he refused to admit or apologize, even when Republican leaders and New Hampshire newspapers called on him to do so.
“Congressman Guinta has made a mockery of the values we cherish in New Hampshire: honesty, integrity, transparency, and independence,” Shea-Porter said.