May 31, 2016 5:55 PM

First on NH1 News: Ashooh to formally launch congressional bid on Friday

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – Rich Ashooh will make it official on Friday.

NH1 News has learned that the Bedford businessman and 2010 congressional candidate will formally launch a second bid for New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District by filing a declaration of candidacy with the Secretary of State’s office at the State House in Concord at Noon on Friday.

On Saturday evening Ashooh will host a campaign kickoff party for supporters in Manchester. That event will take place at the Stark Brewing Company on Commercial Street.

"After two fantastic months of traveling the district meeting with voters, I am excited to finally make this campaign official. The outpouring of support, and overwhelmingly positive reception I have received is truly inspirational. It is an honor to have this opportunity, and I look forward to continuing our momentum as we look toward November,” Ashooh said in a statement provided to NH1 News.

Ashooh is primary challenging fellow Republican Rep. Frank Guinta. The two-term congressman is running for re-election. This is the second time the two have squared off. The then former Manchester mayor defeated Ashooh in a multiple candidate primary race in 2010.

Ashooh announced his candidacy in early April in an email and video to supporters. He was a top executive with BAE Systems and most recently served as interim executive director of the Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership and Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire Law School.

Watch/Read: Ashooh critical of Guinta over trust

First on NH1 News: Guinta signs taxpayer pledge

At the time he announced, Ashooh told NH1 News that the national debt is one reason he decided to run again, saying “the interest on the debt is the largest growing piece of the federal budget. That should be alarming to anybody paying attention to this.”

But he added that “the truly alarming situation is on the national security front. We have back slid as a nation, not only in our own standing in the world, but as a dependent ally.”

Guinta first won election to Congress in 2010, defeating Democratic incumbent Carol Shea-Porter. She topped Guinta in the 2012 rematch, and returned the favor in the 2014 three-peat.

But Guinta’s in a weaker political position as he runs for re-election, as he tries to get past a campaign contribution controversy from last spring and summer, which precipitated calls from top Republicans such as U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte for Guinta to step down.

Ashooh topped Guinta 57%-43% in a much watched straw poll early last week put on by the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women.

The winner of the September 13 primary will face off in November’s general election against either Shea-Porter or first time candidate and Bedford businessman Shawn O’Connor.

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