Incumbents successful in NH congressional primaries, early returns show
September 12th, 2012
01:53 AM ET
8 years ago

Incumbents successful in NH congressional primaries, early returns show

(CNN) - New Hampshire's two congressmen, Republican Reps. Frank Guinta (NH-1) and Charlie Bass (NH-2), will likely be on the November ballots after pushing back challenges from within their own parties, according to early and unofficial results reported by CNN affiliate WMUR.

Voters casting ballots in one of the last primary elections of this 2012 campaign cycle also selected two candidates to go head-to-head over the state's governorship. Manchester businessman Ovide Lamontagne, a Republican, will likely face Maggie Hassan, a lawyer and former state senator, according to the early numbers reported by WMUR.

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The sitting governor, Democrat John Lynch, is not running for a fifth term after serving in Concord for eight years.

Lamontagne enjoys high name recognition in New Hampshire for his prominent role in New Hampshire's GOP presidential primary. He's a founder of the Granite Oath PAC and hosted house parties for Republican presidential candidates in the lead-up to the state's first-in-the-nation primaries in January.

Lamontagne ran unsuccessfully as the Republican gubernatorial nominee in New Hampshire in 1996, and competed against then-Attorney General Kelly Ayotte for the 2010 GOP U.S. Senate nomination. Ayotte eventually defeated Lamontagne in the primary and went on to win the general election.

On the Democratic side, Hassan was engaged in a tight race with Jackie Cilley, a professor who declined to sign "The Pledge," a traditional oath by New Hampshire politicians to veto a statewide personal income tax and sales tax. Hassan, along with the Republican candidates, has signed the pledge.

"[Pledges] make decisions in advance of even being able to diagnose a problem fully," Cilley told the Nashua Telegraph. "They are not leadership, and they don't allow for governing."

Hassan, who previously served as the majority leader of the New Hampshire Senate, took the pledge by saying New Hampshire's economy was already structured around not having an income or sales tax, and that other methods of revenue would be sufficient in meeting the state's needs.

Kevin Smith, Lamontagne's opponent, served as a state legislator before running a conservative think tank. He had hoped his staunch right-wing positions along with his relative youth – he's 35 – would propel him past Lamontagne's higher level of familiarity among Granite State Republicans.

Lynch, a moderate Democrat who enjoyed high approval ratings throughout his eight years as governor, announced last September he would not seek a fifth two-year term as governor, saying it was time for new leadership in the Granite State. New Hampshire does not have term limits for its governors.

"I feel like I have the passion and the energy to keep doing this work for a long, long time," Lynch said, according to the Concord Monitor. "But democracy demands periodic change. To refresh and revive itself, democracy needs new leaders and new ideas."

The Democratic candidates for each congressional district were running unopposed for their party's nomination. Former U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is challenging Guinta in the first district and Ann McLane Kuster goes up against Bass in the second district.

- CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report


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