Apr 4, 2016 2:06 PM
NH1 News Political Director
CONCORD – Rich Ashooh says when it comes to U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta, “there’s a trust that was broken” with the voters.
Ashooh made his comment Monday in a sit down interview at the NH1 News studios, his first media interview since launching a primary challenge against the Republican congressman.
The Bedford businessman also listed the massive federal debt and his deep concerns about “the truly alarming situation” when it comes to the nation’s national security as two top motivations in running a second time for the House of Representatives in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District.
Ashooh officially announced his candidacy Monday morning 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.
This is the second bid for the seat by Ashooh. He ran in 2010, narrowly losing to then former Manchester Mayor Guinta in a battle among three main candidates. Ashooh’s been mulling another run for the Congress for many months.
Even though once again Ashooh’s involved in a race with three major candidates - state Rep. Pam Tucker of Greenland launched her primary challenge against Guinta in February - Ashooh told NH1 News “this does not feel like a second version of the 2010 race.”
Guinta’s in a much 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.
“Candidate Rich has absolutely nothing to say about other candidates,” Ashooh said.
But he added that “voter Rich Ashooh believes that lawbreakers shouldn’t be lawmakers. And that is his problem. And I’m not alone in feeling that there’s a trust that was broken. I could take it very seriously and personally because the misdeeds that occurred, occurred in my race in 2010. And I don’t do that because I’m here as candidate Rich.”
Talking about last year’s controversy, Guinta told NH1 News last week that “I suspect some of these candidates will bring that issue up.”
“If they want to continue to bring this up as an issue, that’s fine. I think what people really want to see is the policy objectives that I have been able to focus on, the leadership I have brought to this state,” Guinta added. “I think that that will play out and at the end of the day we’ll be successful.”
Why he’s running again
Ashooh said the national debt is one reason he’s decided to run again.
“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.”
“As a nation our priority seems to be Cuba and a disastrous nuclear deal with Iran, there’s something very, very, wrong. And congressional elections are the way to tackle that,” he explained.
While he wouldn’t say whether he’d vote for the House Republican budget backed by Speaker Paul Ryan, which is facing opposition from conservatives, Ashooh shared that “I would be someone he (Ryan) could rely on to promote true conservatism in those budgets.:
When it comes to the state’s acute heroin and opioid epidemic, Ashooh said “this is a multi-front battle. It needs to occur on the law enforcement side. It needs to occur on the treatment side.”
“There is too much stigma, negative stigma, associated with people who are in trouble or on the verge of being in trouble and we tend to ignore them. Whereas there’s not enough negative stigma associated with casual use of drugs or over prescription of drugs. We need to fix that and that’s not going to be a federal law that fixes that. 26:30 That’s going to be all of us as a community coming together and working to enforce goals,” he continued.
Dan Innis ‘is a friend’
Ashooh’s entry into the race comes a week and a half after Portsmouth businessman and 2014 congressional candidate Dan Innis suddenly halted his bid for the seat. The departure of Innis from the race appeared to benefit Ashooh.
Asked if there’s been any communication with Innis, Ashooh said “absolutely, Dan is a friend.”
“I’ve always said you don’t need to serve in office to serve. So my encouragement to Dan is what’s next. How do you figure out how you want to solve problems you’ve wanted to solve. And that’s the nature of the conversation,” he added.
Ashooh, like every other Republican running for re-election or for office, faces the prospect of Donald Trump as his party’s presidential nominee, which many political analysts predict could be disastrous for GOP candidates in down ballot races.
Asked if he’d back Trump as Republican nominee, Ashooh said “you’re talking to somebody who is probably one of the most loyal Republicans. Look in the rear view mirror and I’ve supported every nominee. But I’ve never committed to them until they actually got to that point, and there’s a reason why. The reason is there’s a laundry list of things I care about more than being a country. I care about my country, my conservatism, my family, my faith. And anything could happen as we’ve seen in this very unpredictable environment to violate one of those principals well ahead of my Republicanism. So I’m going to be paying attention to what happens at the top of the ticket. But whatever happens we need a good Congress too and that’s why I’m running.”
Ashooh, who’s the father of five, said he’s family’s supportive of his run.
“There’s a little less mystery to it now. It was a little scarier before. And while there’s always some courage in putting your life on hold and doing this, they’re definitely with the program,” he said.
13 hours 17 minutes agoA Stafford County corrections officer allegedly tried bringing thousands of dollars of drugs into the jail was supposed to get deployed. (More)
15 hours 14 minutes agoA Keene man was indicted for allegedly strangling two of his then-girlfriend's cats. (More)
16 hours 48 minutes agoDemocrats filed a complaint with the ethics committee arguing Sununu violated rules against using his position to secure advantages for himself or others. (More)
Mar 22, 2017 5:27 PMNicole Guida, owner of Chic & Unique, a boutique shop located in Littleton, is requesting a jury trial against a former customer who caused...
Mar 22, 2017 6:02 PMA Strafford County corrections officer allegedly attempted to bring heroin into the jail before being detained by police. (More)
Mar 22, 2017 11:01 AMChelsea Blais plead not guilty to abusing children in her care at the Alpha Bits Learning Center, where police say she force fed and...
Mar 22, 2017 10:15 AMNYPD seized over $4.1 million and over three kilograms (6 pounds) of heroin, unraveling a multi-state drug ring — involving New England. (More)
Mar 22, 2017 4:06 PMNew Hampshire is often in the 'weather battle zone' this time of year, which isn't a good thing if you are looking for spring...
Mar 22, 2017 10:45 AMNew Hampshire’s top public officials Wednesday marked the death of state Sen. Scott McGilvray. The first term Democratic state senator from Hooksett and president...
Mar 22, 2017 7:33 AMThe National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory from 10 a.m. Wednesday to midnight. (More)
Mar 21, 2017 10:29 PMA report released on Tuesday by the state agency that licenses childcare centers revealed multiple incidents of verbal and physical abuse committed by a...
Mar 21, 2017 6:40 PMA mother and her friend who injected her with heroin while she was in labor in September 2016 will not be facing felony charges...
Mar 21, 2017 4:09 PMA 74-year-old Mass. man living in public housing for the elderly faces drug trafficking charges after police say they found cocaine valued at about...
Mar 21, 2017 12:09 PMDerry Police say a home was shot at and struck at least 6 times early Tuesday morning, but no one was hurt. (More)
Mar 21, 2017 12:26 PMA woman has been charge with assault against three infants at a Manchester day care center. The three victims are all younger than 1-years-old....
Mar 20, 2017 4:05 PMA man who pleaded guilty to supplying a person in Rochester with a deadly dose of drugs will spend between 8- and 16-years in...
Mar 20, 2017 4:01 PMOnlyInYourState.com has provided nine places in the Granite State where you might be able to spot a ghost. (More)
Mar 20, 2017 2:31 PMPolice are searching for a man who allegedly punched and injured another man at a diner in Manchester. (More)
Mar 20, 2017 3:56 PMA 21-year-old man destroyed his family home after trying to exterminate ants with wooden matches, killing their two cats and a dog. (More)
Mar 20, 2017 4:14 PMA state representative cited house rules when she told a New Hampshire man to stop recording a committee meeting - rules that apparently do...
Mar 19, 2017 5:08 PMA new kind of roller coaster experience is set to premiere next month at Six Flags New England. (More)
Mar 20, 2017 9:40 AMAuthorities say Super Bowl LI and Super Bowl XLIX jerseys "found in the possession of a credentialed member of international media." (More)
Mar 18, 2016 10:37 AMA drug sweep on Thursday afternoon and evening netted four arrests, a pound of suspected cocaine and $7,000 in cash. (More)
Mar 19, 2017 11:56 AMDisney's live-action 'Beauty' was a beast at the box office, opening with an estimated $170 million in North American ticket sales and setting a...
Mar 19, 2017 10:06 AMToll booth workers could be a thing of the past under a bill before the New Hampshire House. (More)
Mar 19, 2017 10:48 AMA Windham man sustained life-threatening injuries when his snowmobile collided with a tree. (More)
Mar 19, 2017 11:23 AMA snowmobiler fell through thin ice, causing a difficult rescue by Wakefield Fire and EMS. (More)
Mar 18, 2017 1:33 PMA Boscawen man is accused of driving 104 mph in a 65 mph speed zone around 9:40 a.m. Saturday. (More)
Mar 17, 2017 5:07 PMAn Exeter High School guidance counselor has pleaded not guilty to aggravated sexual assault against an underage female student. (More)
Mar 17, 2017 4:26 PMA Pembroke mother held a gun to her daughter's head and shouted "You (expletive) piece of (expletive)," according to court paperwork. (More)
Mar 18, 2017 8:24 AMUtility crews are still mopping up in New Hampshire after a powerful nor'easter. (More)
Mar 17, 2017 11:30 AMA 62-year-old man passed away after his snowmobile got stuck in while attempting to get up a hill on Trail 21 in Stewartstown. (More)
Mar 17, 2017 1:13 PMThe Nashua Police Department arrested five more people for various drug-related crimes in connection with Operation Granite Hammer Thursday. (More)
Mar 17, 2017 10:37 AMCitizens Bank is experiencing transaction delays affecting customer accounts. The company acknowledged the problem on its social media accounts Friday. (More)
Mar 17, 2017 8:42 AMThe New Hampshire Attorney General identified the man who was found dead in a Farmington home Wednesday. (More)
Mar 17, 2017 7:52 AMA Pembroke mother is facing charges after allegedly pointing a gun at her daughter during an argument. (More)
Mar 17, 2017 8:22 AMPolice responded to the hotel around 11:30 p.m. to find a 43-year-old man that was "actively" bleeding due to severe injuries on his face....
Mar 16, 2017 3:35 PMAn Effingham woman pleaded guilty to selling fentanyl that caused the death of a Wolfeboro man. (More)
Mar 16, 2017 3:09 PMProsecutors recently filed a motion to revoke Earle's bail after learning she is back together with the boyfriend in question. (More)
Mar 16, 2017 9:14 AMHooksett Highway Department calls police after seeing snow was being plowed across the roadway by a private plow. (More)
Mar 16, 2017 4:16 PMThe former owner of a Manchester sports bar pleaded guilty to having and planning to distribute nearly 17 pounds of meth in largest bust...
Mar 16, 2017 7:21 AMPolice responded to a 911 call from a home at 12:06 p.m. Wednesday. Officers at the scene found one man dead, a woman injured....
Mar 15, 2017 12:05 PMA community is showing their support for a Gilford family that lost their daughter during the 2017 blizzard. (More)
Mar 15, 2017 1:23 PMThe roof of the Hampshire Dome has collapsed. Fire crews are on scene. The dome is part of the Hampshire Hills Athletic Club sports...
Mar 15, 2017 12:27 PMPolice found marijuana in a 64-year-old woman's purse after she allegedly refused a welfare check in Plaistow. (More)
Mar 15, 2017 9:43 AMHere are the latest storm reports from National Weather Service storm spotters. The snow totals have been rounded to the nearest half-inch. SOUTHERN NH Stratham – 23.5” Goffstown – 20” Nottingham – 19” Exeter – 18” East Rochester – 18” Weare – 17.5” North Brookline – 17”...
Mar 15, 2017 7:43 AMCatalano's Market and apartments burn in overnight fire. (More)
Mar 14, 2017 4:13 PMA 23-month-old child in need of a heart transplant was escorted by a convoy of plow trucks, state police and National Guardsmen from one...
Mar 14, 2017 8:30 AMThis March Nor'easter has dumped snow across New Hampshire, leaving crashes and lane closures on I-89 and I-93 as it begins to really ramp...