Dec 11, 2014 10:25 AM
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
WASHINGTON D.C. - Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is definitely not ruling out a 2016 bid to return to Congress.
"I haven't decided what comes next but I just know that I plan to be engaged and to serve," the outgoing Democratic representative told NH1 in an interview on Capitol Hill.
"Everything is on the table," she added.
Shea-Porter was narrowly defeated by Republican challenger Frank Guinta in November's midterm elections. It was the third straight contest where the two candidates battled for New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District, which is one of the most high-profile swing districts in the country.
Shea-Porter was first elected to the House in 2006 and re-elected two years later. But Guinta ousted her in the 2010 GOP wave, with Shea-Porter returning the favor two years later.
Now she's out again, but says some of her friends and allies are already looking ahead to 2016.
"I'm getting the usual letters and phone calls from people saying ‘you have to run for this, you have to run for that' and it's very kind of them. I just keep telling them that I can't make any decisions right now," Shea-Porter said. "Others are thinking about this more than I am at this moment."
Asked by NH1 if House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi or leaders from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have reached out to her regarding a 2016 run, Shea-Porter said "I've had conversations with a number of them, so I'm just leaving it there."
Just as they did in the 2010, Republicans nationwide last month enjoyed another strong showing in the midterms, capturing nine Senate seats to take the majority in the chamber, and winning back more than a dozen House seats, to give the GOP their biggest majority in the chamber in decades. And Democrats, just as in 2010, suffered from a drop-off in participation by younger and minority voters, and single women, who make up a key part of the party's base.
"Clearly we've seen a pattern. What happens is that in the midterms we don't have as many people show up and when they don't show up we don't win. But when the show up they vote for Democrats, so clearly we have a lot of Democratic voters and independent voters that didn't show up that will in 2016 and they'll be interested in having somebody who speaks up for the middle class," Shea-Porter added.
She's concerned that with the GOP running both houses of Congress, the middle class will suffer.
"There are been some warning signs that indicate that this is not going to be a very good two years for the middle class."
As for 2016, Shea-Porter said "I do think it will be a great year for Democrats. I think that people will realize that with the economy improving and the very fact that Democrats have put those pieces in motion, so that the economy would recover."
After losing in November of 2010, Shea-Porter announced in April 2011 that she would run in 2012 for her old seat. Will we see similar timing in the year ahead?
"I don't have any timetable," Shea-Porter shared.
Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte is up for re-election in 2016, and there's speculation that Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, who was just re-elected in November to a second term, may challenge Ayotte. Asked if she's considering either a Senate or gubernatorial bid in 2016, Shea-Porter shared that "people are asking me. I am nowhere on this. I have to be honest. I haven't talked to Maggie. Nobody should draw any conclusions about anything at all. Right now I just have one big plan which is get my house cleaned and ready for Christmas."
As she gets ready to depart Capitol Hill, Shea-Porter listed the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, as one of her biggest achievements in her years in Congress.
"I'm very happy that we passed health. It has made a difference in people's lives. I've said all along we'd have to fix things, and I wish that Republicans had worked with us to try and fix some of the issue there instead of constantly voting to repeal, but I know from the stories that people have told me that and from the numbers that are coming now that it's driving down the increase in health care costs and doing a lot of good things for people, so I'm very, very proud of that. I think it's changed people's lives," Shea-Porter said.
The congresswoman added that "I'm proud of the constituent work that we did. You know we don't talk enough about the federal employees who serve and what they accomplish, but I've been receiving a lot of letters about what my staff accomplished for them, about saving people's homes, taking care of their problems, that they had with maybe Medicare, Social Security and other government agencies and programs."
A member of the Armed Services Committee, Shea-Porter said she was proud to see the imprint she's leaving on the Granite State's military infrastructure.
"I look at the Shipyard and the building going on, and the jobs lined up. Many, many, more jobs and I know that that was the work that I did and I'm pleased about that. I look at the fact that we're going to be getting, the tankers coming to Pease and I know that I worked in a bipartisan manner with others to make sure that we had we needed, the infrastructure there, because it took time to strengthen it, new buildings and improvements there so they were ready."
Summing it up, Shea-Porter said "I feel satisfied knowing that we made a difference."
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