Nov 5, 2014 7:11 PM
Paul Steinhauser: It's back to the future for Frank Guinta
CONCORD - Frank Guinta's heading back to Washington.
The former Republican congressman won his old job back Tuesday night, defeating Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in the race for the 1st Congressional District.
Guinta was the only GOP challenger in New Hampshire's statewide and congressional races to win.
Asked why he came out on top when Republican Senate challenger Scott Brown, gubernatorial nominee Walt Havenstein, and challenger Marilinda Garica in the 2nd Congressional District did not, Guinta told NH1 "I think New Hampshire is an independent minded state. And there are people who are going to vote Democrat in one race and vote for the Republican in another. I've served the state well. People know who I am. They know what the get with me. I think we ran a great race and I'm certainly thrilled to have the opportunity to represent New Hampshire again in Washington."
Guinta defeated Shea-Porter 52%-48%. As the returns were coming in, Guinta said there were some signals that indicated he would win.
"There are some bellwether towns that you want to look at. Rochester, for example. If a Republican can win Rochester, it looks pretty good for the night. Epping is another town. And then you just want to get a sense of the contiguous communities around Manchester, what the margin of strength is going to be. And when we started to see those numbers come in through the course of the evening we felt very strong about our chances of winning," Guinta said.
Guinta's heading to Washington D.C. next week for orientation. And he'll be sworn in to Congress in early January. But he's already got some top legislative priorities.
"I'd love to get a budget passed. We haven't had one in a number of years. I'd like to get tax reform passed so we can get economic growth and job security for Granite Staters across the country. And I'd like take a tackle at the $150 billion in waste, fraud and abuse and see if we can redistribute that through the budget and back to taxpayers, Guinta added.
New Hampshire's congressional delegation will now be split evenly between Republicans Guinta and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, and Democrats Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Annie Kuster, who both won re-election Tuesday night. But Guinta says the delegation can hopefully put politics aside and concentrate on helping the Granite State.
"I do get along very well with Jeanne and Annie. Kelly and I are personal friends as well. So we've worked well together in the past and we're going to focus on making New Hampshire the focus of our attentions. Rather than politics, put people first. That's the most important thing we can do. I think that's what people here in the state want out of Washington."
Guinta beat Shea-Porter in 2010, ousting her from Congress. She returned the favor in 2012. Now he's victorious again. Will there be another rematch in 2016, or will Guinta set his sights on higher office?
The congressman-elect didn't want to look down the road and speculate.
"I woke up this morning looking to make breakfast for my kids, get them off to school, and spend the day with the family. I'm excited about the opportunity to represent New Hampshire and I'm not looking beyond this week at this point," Guinta said.