For Congressman Frank Guinta and his supporters, it turned out to be a long primary night, as results in the contest between Guinta and challenger Rich Ashooh proved too close to call.
About 50 Guinta supporters gathered at Murphy’s Taproom in Manchester, eating wings and downing beers as they watched the returns come in on TV screens above the bar.
The room of die-hard supporters was optimistic for Guinta’s chances, but as the returns began to show just how close the race was, Steve Miller of Merrimack nervously made a prediction.
“This is going to be more than a nail biter. I think it’s going to go late, late tonight. They’re not going to call the race – nobody’s going to concede. Not with a hundred or some odd votes, they’re going to wait until it’s like 98 percent.”
Miller turned out to be correct. Guinta addressed his supporters just after 11 p.m.
“Our kids are unfortunately home asleep because it’s a little late. A little bit later than we thought. But I hope to wake up tomorrow morning with them over breakfast and what we hope to give them is good news.”
For some political observers, the competiveness of the race came as a surprise. Just last year Guinta faced calls from members of his own party to resign after the FEC said he broke campaign finance law by accepting a donation from his parents.
But Guinta was determined not to let that single issue define the campaign.
“Look, we focused on public policy and I think the strong showing tonight recognizes that people want to see independent minded conservative leader representing them in Washington, D.C. and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”
And as the night wrapped up, Guinta hoped he’d get another chance to go back to Washington.