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NH-01: Guinta Says Congress Out Of Touch With NH Values

Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta (R) made it official today, announcing that he's running for Congress to bring "New Hampshire values" to Washington, DC.

"In new Hampshire we have a sense of frugality. We have a sense of pulling up our own bootstraps. We have a sense of trying to figure out the way together to get through tough times. That is in direct contrast to what's going on in Congress, and how our Congressman is voting," Guinta said on a conference call this morning.

He called the stimulus bill "wasteful," and said it "doesn't provide the long-term economic viability that our country demands." He also slammed the Employee Free Choice Act as "blatantly against" the Granite State's "Live Free Or Die" credo. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D), the first district incumbent, is a co-sponsor of the EFCA and voted for the stimulus bill, though Guinta didn't mention her by name.

"The problem with Washington is that our representation is only looking as far as the next election. The policies that they are implementing today are only short-term risks that do not address long-term problems, not offer long-term solutions," he said.

Guinta, the mayor of the state's largest city, has been mentioned as a potential candidate for several statewide offices, but said he's running for Congress because that's where "my heart is." He chose to announce his candidacy now to be honest with his city, and because he said he wants strong candidates run to replace him this fall. He said he'll keep his focus on the city this year, with a full campaign schedule picking up next year when his term is over.

Other Republicans are still considering the race. Guinta said he's not focused on a primary yet, saying he brings "the right credentials" to the race and has a record that "speaks for itself."

Asked what direction he thought the Republican Party should go in as it plots a comeback, Guinta cited the tea party movement as evidence that most Americans feel the country is on the wrong course.

"What I hope other Republicans do across the country is take up the mantle of being forthright, being true to their own particular principles, and respect what people are saying," he said. Those who participated in tea parties "are not just Republicans or conservatives, but people with all ideological backgrounds, and they're coming together for common cause and a common purpose, and that is to take back our government and to change the direction of America."

He said his own party can always do better, and should "restore some basic principles of limited government, of focusing on reducing spending, on bringing prosperity back to America."

"That's part of the reason that I'm running and I'm putting myself out as a candidate," he said.

New Hampshire Democrats are already criticizing Guinta, saying he's "running away from the challenges of City Hall" as Manchester faces higher crime and declining schools.

"The people of Manchester know all too well his personal ambitions have always come before the needs of our city," New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said in a statement.