May 29, 2015 5:13 PM

Past GOP operative says Congressman Guinta can't win re-election in 2016.


CONCORD - The head of a conservative think tank and longtime Republican campaign operative says embattled Congressman Frank Guinta, R-NH, can’t win re-election in 2016.

Charles Arlinghaus, president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, thinks Guinta could manage to resist calls to resign and serve out his First Congressional District term.

But Guinta would surely face a tough GOP opponent next year and could not both win a primary and general election.

"He will certainly face a primary challenge. I think it’s doubtful he could survive a primary, particularly a one-on-one primary and I think it’s fairly certain at this point that unless something big changes that he could survive a general," Arlinghaus said during taping of the NH1 Newsmakers program.

On Thursday, NH1 confirmed former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter will run in a special election for Guinta’s seat if he does step down.

The Rochester Democrat had accused Guinta of taking illegal donations from his parents during their 2010 battle that Guinta won.

Earlier this month, the Federal Election Commission fined Guinta $15,000 and ordered he repay that 2010 campaign $355,000 Guinta had gotten from an account under his parents’ financial control.

Guinta has said he won’t resign and believes voters will agree with his claim much of the money in that parental account was his.

On other topics, Arlinghaus rebutted claims of Gov. Maggie Hassan that the proposed Senate budget is not balanced and was done with gimmicks.

"There are two ways to carry out cuts in the budget; the Legislature can do them line by line or let the managers manage. The Senate’s approach has been used time and again by both political parties," Arlinghaus said.

But Arlinghaus was critical of the Senate budget for its level of low support for private charter schools.

Charter schools receive only 32 percent as much as public schools in state aid per student and without a healthy increase, they will have a hard time surviving.

"It’s a pittance and it doesn’t come close to closing the gap," said Arlinghaus of charter school aid in the House and Senate proposed budgets.

NH1 Newsmakers airs Sunday at 11:30 am and is rebroadcast at 10:30.



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