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Salem’s Marilinda Garcia announces congressional campaign in 2nd District

Rep. Marilinda Garcia of Salem, second from right, speaks as, from left, Karin Agness, founder of Network of Enlightened Women; T.W. Shannon, speaker of the House in Oklahoma; Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee; and San Jose police Officer Scott Erickson look on during the Republican National Committee summer meeting Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Boston. The RNC formally renewed its minority outreach effort, introducing the first four members of a "Rising Stars" program designed to promote younger and more ethnically diverse Republicans leaders.

(AP PHOTO/JOSH REYNOLDS)

Rep. Marilinda Garcia of Salem, second from right, speaks as, from left, Karin Agness, founder of Network of Enlightened Women; T.W. Shannon, speaker of the House in Oklahoma; Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee; and San Jose police Officer Scott Erickson look on during the Republican National Committee summer meeting Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Boston. The RNC formally renewed its minority outreach effort, introducing the first four members of a "Rising Stars" program designed to promote younger and more ethnically diverse Republicans leaders. (AP PHOTO/JOSH REYNOLDS)

State Rep. Marilinda Garcia announced yesterday she’ll run for Congress in 2014, teeing up a contested Republican primary for the seat held by first-term Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster.

Garcia, 30, a Salem Republican serving her fourth term in the House, is running in the 2nd District, which stretches from the Massachusetts border to the North Country and includes the cities of Concord and Nashua.

“I’m running because, like most of New Hampshire’s citizens and the wider U.S., I’m very frustrated with the inability of our current political leadership to solve pressing problems. It’s why the majority of Americans, for the first time, are less confident that their children and grandchildren can achieve the American dream,” Garcia said yesterday. “So I’m running because I believe America is the last great hope on Earth, and that this is a nation worth fighting for, and I believe I have the skill-set and can benefit from a new generation of ideas and help bring America back on the right path again.”

Garcia is the second Republican to kick off a campaign against Kuster. Gary Lambert, 54, an attorney and former state senator from Nashua, announced in September he would seek the seat.

“Gary welcomes Rep. Garcia to the race and is looking forward to a spirited campaign,” said Ethan Zorfas, Lambert’s campaign consultant, in a statement. “Col. Lambert has served his country in the Marine Corps for over 34 (years) and wants to bring real leadership to Washington. As a small business owner, husband and father of two daughters, Gary is running to represent the 2nd District because Congresswoman Kuster and political insiders have abandoned the middle-class.”

Democrats yesterday dismissed Garcia by linking her to Bill O’Brien, the Mont Vernon Republican and lightning-rod former House speaker who passed on a run for Congress in the district earlier this year.

“The right wing has found yet another reliable rubberstamp who will carry on Bill O’Brien’s Tea Party torch that caused so much damage to families in New Hampshire,” said Marc Brumer, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, in a statement.

“With two of O’Brien’s loyal rubber-stamps seeking the Republican nomination, New Hampshire voters should brace themselves for Garcia and Lambert’s inevitable reckless race to pander to the same extreme right fringe of the Republican Party that forced the federal government shutdown,” said Harrell Kirstein, spokesman for the New Hampshire Democratic Party, in a statement.

Kuster, 57, an attorney from Hopkinton, ran for Congress in the 2nd District in 2010 but lost narrowly to Republican Charlie Bass, who had previously held the seat for six terms. Two years later, in 2012, she defeated Bass in a rematch.

A University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll taken last month showed Kuster tied with Lambert for 2014 – 34 percent for Lambert, 33 percent for Kuster and 31 percent undecided, with a 5.4 percent margin of error. The poll of 333 residents of the 2nd District was taken Oct. 7-16.

“Clearly they think Ann Kuster is in danger, so they’re starting to attack me today, apparently,” Garcia said. “They see she’s weak.”

Garcia was first elected to the state House in 2006, when she was 23. She sits on the powerful House Finance Committee and serves in the House with her sister, Rep. Bianca Garcia, also a state representative from Salem.

Marilinda Garcia is vice president for client relations at Axon Global Services, a cybersecurity firm. A harpist, she also teaches the instrument at Phillips Exeter Academy – the private school where Tom Hassan, husband of Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, is the principal.

The Republican National Committee in August named Garcia a rising star, and she’s a member of the Future Majority Caucus, a GOP group that seeks to recruit and support women and candidates of color.

Garcia said yesterday her youth is an asset to her campaign.

“I do think that I’m uniquely poised to help a younger generation of people that, frankly, need to be involved and obviously are most concerned about the future of our country,” she said. “I think it’s about time we stepped up and had a voice, so that’s why I’m stepping up.”

A Republican primary also is expected in New Hampshire’s 1st District, where Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is seeking a fourth term. Former congressman and Manchester mayor Frank Guinta, who defeated Shea-Porter in 2010 but lost a rematch in 2012, is squaring off against Dan Innis, who recently stepped down as dean of the University of New Hampshire’s Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics.

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)

You make some valid points Itsa. Not all, but some. I particularly disagree with your assertion on which party is putting party before country. Let's just wish Ms. Garcia good luck with her campaign and may the best candidate win. Perhaps if there were more women in the House, the two sides would be more likely to compromise and actually pass legislation solve our problems.

I would say that Democrats vote more along party lines without question than Republicans can, nowhere can that me more illustrated than in the divide in the party between conservatives, entrenched mainstreamers and moderates. We read every day that the party is "fractured" ,etc. No party should expect their members to vote in lockstep every single time, every vote. Perhaps if we had more "independent" thinkers who challenged both parties it would move things in a better direction in Washington.

I would remind sail, itsa, et al that there are some on the libertarian/free-state/tea-party right that are already skeptical of her because she's not "conservative enough." I sincerely wish Ms. Garcia the best of luck(I have a soft spot for her not because of her looks but because she's a formerly trained professional musician with a degree from New England Conservatory.) I hope that the upcoming campaign doesn't focus on the . . . ahem . . . "comparative physical attributes" of both candidates, but rather, on the issues.

I could care less who wins as long as it is not Kuster. ABK-Anyone But Kuster applies. I also don't care about looks either, it is about who is HONEST, who will be INDEPENDENT and who can LEAD and meet the expectations of their CONSTITUENTS

C'MON!!! It's not about who's INDEPENDENT, itsa. JON HUNTSMAN was INDEPENDENT! BUDDY ROEMER was INDEPENDENT! DId'ya vote for either one'a them?

Reply to Gen x er...I noticed it was only old white men attacking her..like Marc Brumer and Peter Sullivan...

She is correct, we are the last, best hope on earth. That is directly opposite to the views of many on the Left. But it is true. I wish Ms. Garcia luck.

Kuster is an extreme Liberal Lawyer. America only consists of 20% liberal ideology so she represents an extreme ideology. Exactly like NObama & Hassan ...Kuster only knows how to campaign and dance and obfuscate around questions - she is the typical democrat lawyer elite leftist stealth candidate. Kuster never spent a day working on a town, county, state representative position - just a big money big government elite lawyer.......State Rep. Marilinda Garcia is REAL and has worked for the people ....something you will never find in Kuster's past.

Strategically, this is a good move for the GOP. Salem's solidly Republican so she'll have plenty of support and of course the GOP needs more women and minority reps. It'll be a tough fight with Kuster though. Interesting...

"of course the GOP needs more women and minority reps". Please explain that comment. It seems whenever the GOP comes up with a minority or woman, progressives attack them. Ayotte in this state has been the brunt of many attacks but any number of GOP women and minorities have been called names. The best leaders should be chosen wheter or not they are women, men or minorities. It should not be a tough fight with Kuster, she is an Obama supporter and a supporter of the Obamacare disaster.

Reply to Itsa: Of the 234 Republican representatives in the House, 19 are women, and another 9 are minorities. That's a total of a whopping 12%! For Democrats its over 50%. Considering that the electorate is about 2/3 women and minorities, I'd say the GOP is not very "representative" of the country--pun intended. The GOP is finally waking up to the fact that their their core constituents--old white men--are not enough to win elections nationally. Check it out: http://0-www.cnn.com.library.ccbcmd.edu/2013/07/30/politics/women-congress-gop/index.html With regard to Sen Ayotte being attacked, you make it sound like she's being singled out because she's a Republican woman. But I see no shortage of attacks on Reps Kuster or Shea-Porter. It comes with the territory--man, woman, Rep or Dem.

As long as we keep on talking about women, men, minorities, gender and point out the differences, we can't and will not unite as a nation. What we need is to view candidates as "people" and forget championing that this group or that group. Just like affirnative action, it does more to divide people than to unite people, especially where preferences are concerned. When the population is 75% hispanic do you think that white males and females will be considered for affirmative action or preferences? I doubt it. Progressives are all for minorities and women being elected and having an orgasm over it unless of course the minority or woman is a Republican. Democrats attack these folks regularly. To your point on Kuster and Shea-Porter, they should be called out. Face it, Democrats are out for party not country. Ideology not liberty and freedom. As for "old white men",,,,be careful, we are all headed there.....I am older than you and I don't consider myself "old"......you are only as young as you live and feel. Being progressive does not mean that you are a "young thinker".

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