By Editorial Staff
When Dan Innis first announced his candidacy for Congress back in October of last year, he had to have known what he was going up against.
Since 2007, only two people have filled the seat representing the 1st Congressional District in New Hampshire. Democrat Carol Shea-Porter and Republican Frank Guinta are familiar faces in New Hampshire politics and with each of them running in this cycle, there was hardly any room for another candidate to fight his or her way into the race.
The Republicans wanted a candidate who has the best shot at unseating Shea-Porter. Guinta defeated her in 2010, and the Republicans find themselves in a favorable political context. As President Barack Obama’s approval rating continues to decline, Democrats around the nation are feeling the heat.
When it came time for the primary races on Sept. 9, Republicans in the 1st District picked the safer candidate.
Innis ran a fine race and gathered 41 percent of the vote, but Republicans did not want to risk this opportunity at gaining a seat on a brand new candidate.
Could Innis have won the general election? Perhaps. He is a new face in the party and could attract independent and undecided voters to step over to the Republican side.
It was hardly a surprise to see the Portsmouth Herald endorse Innis, who has been a well-known and respected businessman in the city for years and is the owner of The Hotel Portsmouth. Prior to his endorsement by the Herald, the New Hampshire Union Leader, one of the largest news publications in the state and known for its traditionally conservative views, also voiced its support for Innis.
Maybe Republicans had had enough of Guinta, who was quickly kicked off the seat by Shea-Porter in 2012 after just one term. Perhaps Republicans truly wanted Innis to be their candidate.
What it comes down to is that Innis was a victim of bad timing. Had it been an open election, even with Guinta in the running, Innis may have had a real shot at beating him out for the nomination. By the end of the primary, Guinta beat Innis by only eight points.
Innis turned 51 years old back in April and he has never held public office before, but neither did Shea-Porter prior to her 2006 victory over Republican incumbent Jeb Bradley. As Melissa Proulx indicated in her page one story on Innis, the former Dean of the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics would not reveal what his plans are when the next election cycle comes around.
For the time being, Innis is a member of the UNH faculty, a role he seems to enjoy. If he does decide to hit the campaign trail again, voters will remember him.