A survey of New Hampshire political insiders conducted by NH Journal indicates that the 2014 Republican candidate field has yet to be settled in several marquee races. In a year where Republicans are expected to seize the opportunity to regain seats lost in 2010 and 2012 given the widespread unpopularity of President Obama and national Democrats, Granite State Republicans have yet to coalesce around candidates for governor, the second congressional district, and U.S. Senate.
The survey’s only strong consensus emerged in the first congressional district, where respondents gave former Congressman Frank Guinta the advantage over challenger Dan Innis by a margin of 66 percent to 23 percent, with 11 percent selecting another candidate. The winner of that primary will take on Democrat Carol Shea-Porter in the general election.
The results for the second district congressional race were less conclusive, with former Nashua State Senator Gary Lambert garnering a plurality of 33 percent, compared to 20 percent for State Representative Marilinda Garcia (R-Rockingham) and 17 percent for conservative activist Andrew Hemingway. 30 percent of respondents believed a different candidate will emerge to win the Republican primary and challenge Rep. Anne Kuster. [NOTE: Some completed surveys were submitted prior to Garcia's formal entrance into the race.]
An even larger percentage of respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the current slate of GOP gubernatorial candidates, with 65 percent declining to choose between declared candidates George Lambert (13 percent) or Chuck Rolecek (22 percent).
Turning to the U.S. Senate race against incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, a plurality of insiders (46 percent) believe that former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown will enter the race, with a slightly larger margin (48 percent) expressing the belief that Brown could beat Shaheen.
National Republican organizations have begun to target Shaheen in the wake of the botched Obamacare rollout and recent polling showing her to be vulnerable; she was previously seen as the heavy favorite against any potential challenger. Brown has recently purchased a home in the Granite State, encouraging speculation that he is eying the Senate race.
141 NH political insiders completed the five-question survey via email from November 22-26, 2013.
View the full survey results: