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How the Family Research Council convinced a GOP candidate in N.H. to 'evolve'

Manchester, N.H. mayor Frank Guinta is one of the GOP candidates most likely to flip a House seat -- I'm unaware of a poll that shows Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.) leading him. But I've heard some critics of Guinta wonder how, exactly, he won the endorsement of the Family Research Council, even if he does hold a clear advantage among GOP primary voters. In the early part of his career, Guinta was more libertarian, voting against parental consent for abortion and endorsing Rudy Giuliani for president.

"Guinta came into the race with a libertarian streak," acknowleged Connie Mackey, president of FRC Action PAC. "His intentions were good -- he was focused on small government. But I don't think he understood all of the issues at first, and he got mugged on them. It didn't seem at first that gay marriage would be an issue he'd have to look at as a small government libertarian, but he saw what happened when it was forced to a vote in New Hampshire, and he realized that it was an issue." What he saw, she explained, was the rough-and-tumble strategy liberals used to push it through.

According to Mackey, Guinta has assured social conservatives that he's moved closer to their stances on the issues -- Mackey has a letter from Guinta explaining his new views.

"Candidates evolve," said Mackey, "and they tend to evolve toward us, not toward the libertarian streak that Guinta came in with. And when that happens, that tells us we won't just have a good vote. We'll have an advocate."

By David Weigel  |  June 10, 2010; 9:55 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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