Steinhauser: Shea-Porter returns to the campaign spotlight
CONCORD – Carol Shea-Porter says “we have a lot of work to do still. And I’m anxious to get back to it.”
The former Democratic congresswoman made her comments speaking to reporters Friday, minutes after filing her candidacy to try and reclaim her old seat in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District.
Shea-Porter made her way to the Secretary of State’s office one day after the candidate running against her in the Democratic primary, Bedford businessman Shawn O’Connor, announced that he is now running for Congress as an independent.
Shea-Porter said that O’Connor’s move doesn’t change things.
“I always felt very confident that we were going to be in the general election and that we’re going to win in November.
In April, O’Connor threatened legal action against Shea-Porter. O’Connor, a victim of domestic violence, claimed that Shea-Porter’s campaign spread rumors that he was a perpetrator of domestic violence.
“The domestic violence charge, accusing me, a survivor of domestic violence, of being a perpetrator, is just the most egregious,” O’Connor alleged in an exclusive interview with NH1 in April. “This was part of a mass conspiracy to impugn my record, to attack me personally.”
Shea-Porter’s campaign remained mostly silent, other than to put out a statement describing O’Connor’s charges as “untruthful” and a “desperate attack.”
Asked on Friday by NH1 News about O’Connor’s allegations, Shea-Porter said “I think that as time passed, you know, we saw a lot more come out, allegations against so many, so many people. And that was then. This is now. And the best thing to do whenever there’s anything that happens is not to tangle. I’m not one to tangle.”
But she added that “I don’t think we should get dragged down into fighting about personalities. I don’t think that is what the people of New Hampshire want to see. I made one statement. That was it. I still feel that way.”
Shea-Porter: GOP candidates ‘right wing’
Friday’s question and answer session with reporters was the first time Shea-Porter had been in front of media cameras in quite some time.
Asked by NH1 News where she’s been, Shea-Porter joked “actually I’ve been out there all the time. You just haven't come to where I was.”
And she joked again after being asked if she’ll be entertaining more media interviews.
“Looks like I’m doing one right now,” she said to laughter, before adding “yes.”
New Hampshire’s 1st CD is one of the most closely watched swing congressional districts in the country. Shea-Porter was first elected to the seat in 2006, defeating GOP incumbent Jeb Bradley (who’s now the state Senate majority leader). She was re-elected in 2008 but defeated in 2010 by then-former Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta. She beat Guinta in their 2012 rematch, but he ousted Shea-Porter for a second time in the 2014 three-peat.
Guinta is facing a serious primary challenge from Bedford businessman Rich Ashooh, whom Guinta defeated in the 2010 Republican primary.
While Shea-Porter may quietly be hoping for a fourth showdown with Guinta, she told reporters it didn’t matter whom she faced in the general election. She said both Guinta and Ashooh “align themselves with the right wing. Neither of them have denounced Donald Trump so I think they are fairly similar.”
“Rich Ashooh’s a nice guy but he’s definitely right wing and aligned with Frank Guinta,” she added.
As for the possibility of Shea-Porter fatigue with voters, in this, her sixth straight campaign for Congress, she said “people know me. I‘m the same person now that I was in ’06.”
Fmr. U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter files her candidacy for Congress, on Friday June 10th, 2016
New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley stands with Shea-Porter at the Secretary of State's office, on June 10th, 2016