Embattled New Hampshire GOP congressman Frank Guinta
Rep. Frank Guinta has certainly seen better days. Last Wednesday, the New Hampshire Republican paid a fine to the FEC over a mysterious (and illegal) $355,000 campaign loan from his parents, perhaps thinking that he could put this long-running story behind him. However, Guinta's move only led to more questions about his honesty, and his own party wants him out of this swing district.
Last week, Sen. Kelly Ayotte did little to defend the incumbent, but she ditched any subtlety on Monday and publicly told Guinta to get lost. State Senate President Chuck Morse and state House Speaker Shawn Jasper also called for his resignation, while state party chair Jennifer Horn called his situation "serious and extremely troubling." The hacks at the NRCC didn't exactly get Guinta's back either, saying only that they're "continuing to evaluate this very complex situation."
Guinta is at least acting like he doesn't care, saying on Monday that he won't resign, and that he'll fundraise to pay back the questionable loan (good luck finding donors). However, if Guinta won't go quietly, his party sounds ready to throw him into the shark tank. The Boston Globe reported on Friday that influential Republicans have already started discussing possible recruits, and they certainly have a lot of options. The Globe's James Pindell mentioned 14 different potential candidates, though it remains to be seen who's actually serious. One more notable name belongs to 2014 candidate Dan Innis, who lost the primary to Guinta and says he'd be interested in a second bid, but only if there's an open seat situation.
There's also been some speculation that ex-Massachusetts senator and 2014 New Hampshire Senate nominee Scott Brown could try again. However, given that a recent PPP survey gave Brown an atrocious 30-56 statewide favorable rating, it's unlikely the NRCC will be thrilled to have him as their standard-bearer. (It doesn't help that Brown has already dispensed with last year's comic fiction that he's a New Hampshirite: He recently re-established his Masshole credentials by applying for a Massachusetts state pension.)
For the moment, Guinta seems determined to stick it out and perhaps go down fighting, but it's very hard to see him getting to the general election ballot unless a clown car full of over-eager Republicans runs against him in the primary. Democrats are going to target this swing seat no matter what happens, but right now, as unlikely as it may be, they're rooting for Guinta to hang on for dear life.
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