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New Hampshire Pre-Primary Reports Reaffirm Bass, Kuster as Frontrunners

As the Granite State prepares for its Sept. 14 primaries, candidates in the state’s two House districts filed their pre-primary fundraising reports on Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.

In New Hampshire’s 1st district, Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter raised $53,000 from July 1 through Aug. 25, at which point she had $529,000 on hand. She doesn’t have a primary opponent, but several Republicans are competing to oppose her in November.

Former Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta raised $43,000 over the same seven weeks, and he had an unimpressive $157,000 in the bank as of Aug. 25. His main opponent, former Republican National Committeeman Sean Mahoney, raised $21,000 from donors in the same time period and loaned his campaign an additional $100,000. He had $121,00 in hand with a little less than two weeks to go before the primary.

Regardless of who wins the primary, the general election in the Manchester-based district is expected to be close. President Barack Obama carried the district with 53 percent in 2008. Shea-Porter defeated then-Rep. Jeb Bradley with 51 percent in 2006, and she won with 52 percent of the vote in their 2008 rematch. Both national parties will be involved in this race.

When Rep. Paul Hodes (D) decided to run for the open Senate seat instead of for re-election, applicants for his job formed a long line in the western New Hampshire district. On the Democratic side, attorney Ann McLane Kuster and college professor Katrina Swett are the top candidates. Kuster announced that she had raised $223,000 from July 1 to Aug. 25, more than any other House candidate in New Hampshire. The League of Conservation Voters and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund were among her biggest donors. She now has $450,000 on hand.

In contrast, Swett, the 2002 Democratic nominee in the same district and the daughter of the late Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), raised just $37,000 in the same time period, but she now has $798,000 on hand.

On the Republican side, the top contenders are former Rep. Charles Bass, former Republican nominee Jennifer Horn and former state Rep. Bob Giuda. Bass, who is the frontrunner, raised $57,000 and now has $312,000 on hand, well more than his opponents. Horn raised $41,000 and had only $32,000 on hand. Giuda raised $17,000 and had $32,000 on hand.

This 2nd district race is also expected to be among the most competitive open-seat races this fall, and Republicans like their chances for winning back the seat with Bass as their nominee. In 2008, Horn lost to Hodes, 56 percent to 41 percent, as Obama also won the district with 56 percent.

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