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RGA Polling In NH

The Republican Governor's Association, seeking to expand the field of competitive seats in November, is conducting a poll in New Hampshire, where Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta is seen as a potential dark horse to unseat popular incumbent John Lynch. The only problem: Even conducting a poll may be illegal in the Granite State without the proper paperwork.

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office has ordered the RGA to stop polling until it registers in the state as a political action committee, the Union Leader's John DiStaso reported Friday. Still, the poll, which included a test of Lynch's negatives, is not a push poll, as state Democrats had charged, which is illegal in New Hampshire.

But because it included those negatives, it is a political tool used to influence the race instead of a data-gathering tool, the AG's office declared. Therefore, the RGA has to pay $50 to register as a political committee in the state. The committee was dinged by the same office in 2004 for running anti-Lynch ads without registering. That year, Lynch beat incumbent Republican Craig Benson.

While Democrats and Republicans generally agree that governor's races in Indiana, Missouri and Washington State will be competitive this year, few expect any others to present big challenges to incumbents. Lynch as a vulnerable incumbent is a stretch as well; after winning by just 14,000 votes out of more than 650,000 cast in 2004, Lynch walloped his Republican opponent in 2006, winning almost three to one.

Still, national and state Republicans are excited about the possibilities of Guinta making a run. The young mayor of the state's largest city, whose terms are up in odd-numbered years, would not have to give up his seat, and even if he lost Guinta could set himself up for a future statewide bid. State and local offices in New Hampshire is up every two years, one of just a few states to hold elections so frequently.