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Testerman withdraws from GOP primary to back Smith for Senate

By Garry Rayno, The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

June 14--CONCORD -- Saying he could feel a breeze blowing into New Hampshire from Virginia, former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith predicted a similar result in the Granite State, to the primary defeat of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Smith of Tuftonboro filed for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate Friday with the backing of former candidate Karen Testerman, who withdrew to unify the conservatives in the party behind one candidate.

"During my involvement in this war for the heart and soul of America, time and again, I observe elections where candidates who fully embrace the principles of the Republican Party split the conservative vote -- thus enabling the candidate who compromises our basic tenets of life, liberty and property to slide into victory," Testerman said in the Secretary of State's Office on the last day of the filing period. "This happened recently in South Carolina and it happened in the 2012 2nd Congressional District race here in New Hampshire and it happened in 2010 when I ran for governor. I will not let it happen again."

Testerman and Smith said they had been talking for some time that only one true conservative candidate should be in the Republican primary.

Neither one asked the other to withdraw, Smith said, noting Testerman decided she would in order to have one solid conservative voice.

"At this critical juncture in preparation for the New Hampshire Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, it is critical that only one principled conservative candidate is listed on the primary ballot," Testerman said.

"It is time for all of us to put aside pride and focus on our greater goal, that of fighting for family, faith and freedom."

Smith noted like Virginia, other Republican candidates have all the money, the endorsements and hold a double-digit lead in the U.S. Senate race.

"Conservatives are united in New Hampshire. This is the first step of unity from now all the way to the New Hampshire Presidential primary," Smith said. "We're going to show them how it's done. We're going to surprise everyone."

Smith and nine other candidates, including former Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Scott Brown of Rye, and former state Sen. Jim Rubens of Hanover, seek the Republican nomination to face incumbent U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of Madbury.

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First District Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter of Rochester also filed for reelection Friday and answered Republican attacks for her vote for the Affordable Care Act.

"What do they have?" Shea-Porter asked, "What is their plan?"

She said the ACA is working, she hears stories from constituents who finally have health insurance. "It's a great thing," Shea-Porter said. "We've finally brought health insurance for everyone to this country, and I'm going to run on it."

Shea-Porter did not want to comment on what the country should do about the Iraqi situation, but did say the Iraqi government has to stand up and take responsibility, noting that some of its soldiers were taking off their uniforms and running.

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Shea-Porter said she would wait until the committee holds a hearing, "but it doesn't look good, obviously."

She said she is running to help maintain and restore the middle class.

"I want all New Hampshire families to have the same opportunities I had: to get good jobs, access health care, own a home, put away some money for retirement, and have a little left over for pizza on Friday night," Shea-Porter said. "For too many, the American dream is slipping away. We need more jobs, workers' wages are flat, and our tax code favors the wealthiest."

Shea-Porter is serving her third term in Congress, defeating then U.S. Rep. Jeb Bradley in 2006 and again in 2008, but was defeated by former U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta in 2010, only to retain her seat by defeating him in 2012.

Filing for the Republican nomination in the 2nd Congressional District race was Michael Little of Concord. Little was a long-time Concord City Councilor.

Everett Jabour of Barrington filed to run for the Republican nomination to the 1st Congressional District, bringing the total in that race to four.

Incumbent Democratic District 2 Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern of Concord, filed for reelection.

Filing for state Senate were Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem in District 22, incumbent Sen. David Pierce, D-Hanover, District 5, and Dan Feltes, D-Concord, District 15.

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Also, former District 2 Democratic Executive Councilors John Shea of Nelson filed his intent to run for governor. He will have to file 3,000 petitions to get on the November ballot.

Former state Sen. Thomas P. Stawasz, R-Hollis, also filed his intent to run as an independent for the District 5Executive Council seat. He too has to file petitions to be on the November ballot.

Peter Macdonald of Lee, who had filed in 2010 to run in the state Senate District 21 race as a Democrat, is running this time around for the Republican nomination.

The political parties have until Wednesday to file candidates for empty seats.

grayno@unionleader.com

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(c)2014 The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.)

Visit The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.) at www.unionleader.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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