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Guinta Passes On NH Race

Dealing Granite State Republicans a serious blow, Manchester mayor Frank Guinta will not make a bid against New Hampshire Governor John Lynch, the Union Leader's John DiStaso reports. Guinta, who was encouraged to take on Lynch by Washington and New Hampshire Republicans, said instead he will focus on his second term as mayor.

Guinta's refusal to make the race leaves only State Senator Joe Kenney facing Lynch. The move also puts other Republicans in jeopardy, as Lynch, who remains hugely popular, is likely to again run up a big total against an underfunded, little-known opponent. In 2006, when Lynch defeated State Representative Jim Coburn by a nearly three-to-one margin, Republicans also lost both the state's congressional seats and control of both chambers of the state legislature.

This year, New Hampshire promises to again be a swing state in November, and with Lynch heading the ticket, Democrats will be in good position to keep the state in their column. Senator John Sununu would have liked a more competitive governor's race as well, as he faces the fight of his political life against Democratic former Governor Jeanne Shaheen, a race polls have shown her leading consistently.

Guinta, who is only 37 years old, will continue to run his Granite State Leadership PAC to help Republicans around the state and in anticipation of a likely future bid for the top job. "When the time is right you will probably see my name on the ballot for something else," Guinta told DiStaso. Guinta will have to watch his political present closely. When he won his first race as mayor, in 2005, he surprised Democratic incumbent Bob Baines who was said to have his own future in statewide politics.