WASHINGTON -- New Hampshire Democrat Carol Shea-Porter was a tough casualty for many Democrats in 2010. After serving two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, the progressive congresswoman lost by 12 points to Republican Frank Guinta. But in a development that Democrats are hoping will accelerate as 2012 approaches, Shea-Porter announced that she will be running for her old seat.
"During my two terms serving the good people of New Hampshire's First District, I always worked for what I call the bottom 99% of Americans, and I never forgot that public office is a public trust," said Shea-Porter in an email to supporters on Thursday afternoon.
She criticized the current Congress for "passing legislation that will hurt average Americans, and they are bowing to special interests instead of focusing on job creation and good government."
A Democratic operative told The Huffington Post that the campaign against Guinta for New Hampshire's First Congressional District is expected to be crowded on the Democratic side, with several men and women already expressing interest. Two individuals said to be expressing interest are Steve Marchand, a former mayor of Portsmouth, and Joanne Dowdell, a businesswoman and member of the Democratic National Committee.
Another factor that may complicate the race is redistricting, meaning the make-up of the district could end up changing.
"Carol Shea-Porter’s decision proves just how far removed she is from New Hampshire voters," said National Republican Campaign Committee spokesman Tory Mazzola. "After compiling a partisan record that muscled through government-run healthcare and reckless tax-and-spend policies, New Hampshire voters know full well that sending Shea-Porter back to Washington will only result in skyrocketing debt on the backs of their children and a vote to try to put Nancy Pelosi back in the Speaker’s Chair."
In 2006, Shea-Porter upset Republican incumbent Jeb Bradley without a nickel from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee or the Democratic National Committee. Her surprise victory made her the first congresswoman from New Hampshire. She fought off Bradley again in a 2008 rematch.
Shea-Porter became known as one of the hardest workers in Congress, as well as an "unabashed progressive," according to a GOP operative in comments to The Huffington Post.
"New Hampshire voters already have major buyer’s remorse when it comes to Frank Guinta," said EMILY'S List spokesperson Jess McIntosh. The pro-choice group made Shea-Porter's race a priority in 2010, but it has not yet made any endorsements for the coming election.
"He campaigned on job creation, then pulled a bait and switch to focus on this radical anti-woman agenda. His appalling record combined with the Democratic female talent in that district is enough for EMILY’s List to put him on notice. Democratic women in Congress are the best defense against the radical GOP agenda and we’re ready to send them more reinforcements."
2012 is shaping up to be a year filled with Democratic women candidates. In addition to Shea-Porter, Ann Kuster, Ann Kirkpatrick and Lois Frankel are creating some buzz. Also on Thursday, Rep. Shelley Berkeley (D-Nev.) announced that she would be running for a U.S. Senate seat.