Once considered a longshot to win Tuesday's Republican House primary in New Hampshire, a late infusion of outside support has boosted the chances that state Rep. Marilinda Garcia could face off against Democrat incumbent Rep. Ann Kuster in November, National Journal
Initially, state Sen. Gary Lambert was seen as the front-runner, but conservative support Garcia received over the summer from Club for Growth and other groups have changed the face of the race, said Scott Tranchemontagne, a New Hampshire-based political consultant.
"Republicans in New Hampshire, with Marilinda, we were very intrigued but didn't know what to make of her. Lambert fit the profile of the kind of candidate they'd put up in the 2nd District. And Garcia was this young, Hispanic, telegenic woman with conservative credentials. People looked at her and said she could be a good general-election matchup with Kuster. But there were a lot of questions," Tranchemontagne said in an interview with National Journal.
The support from Club for Growth has been critical as Lambert has outspent Garcia by $276,000 to $232,000 since the beginning of the race. But that margin was erased by the club's spending, the Journal notes.
Club for Growth formally endorsed
the 31-year old music teacher in June.
The race is seen as an opportunity for the Republicans, particularly considering Kuster's poor approval ratings.
According to an August University of New Hampshire survey,
first-term Kuster has a 29 percent approval rating and a 30 percent disapproval rating.
Among the Republican candidates for the 2nd District, Garcia has the best approval rating with 19 percent expressing support, and 13 percent saying they have an unfavorable opinion. That is compared with Lambert's 8 percent favorable rating, which has remained largely unchanged from earlier polls.
Garcia also has attracted high-profile, national Republicans to her side, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who campaigned with her on Sunday.
"Marilinda Garcia is an incredibly exciting candidate. I had a chance to sit down and visit with her several months ago, and we’ve continued an ongoing conversation. She’s a strong conservative, she’s principled, she’s an elected legislator here in New Hampshire, and she understands that freedom works," he told Fox News Latino.
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The Republican National Committee
has even named her one of the party's "rising stars."
Garcia, however, has been criticized for her position on immigration, including her endorsement of a resolution proposed at the 2013 National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators that said, in part, that "legalizing the undocumented population lets us know who is living within our nation's borders," reports Seacoastonline.
In the last debate, the candidates also addressed the issue of military intervention in Syria. Garcia supports considering all options, while Lambert expressed his opposition to deploying U.S. troops under any circumstance.
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