Former 1st District Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, who was ousted by double digits after two terms in office, attended a rally in Portsmouth on Saturday to show solidarity with Wisconsin union members. Shea-Porters stood along side Democratic NH House Minority Leader, Terie Norelli, who referred to both the Wisconsin struggle and the right-to-work legislation recently passed by the New Hampshire house as an “attack on the working class.”
The rally was one of Shea-Porter’s first public appearances since her November defeat, and is likely to greatly increase speculation that she plans to run again, as she hinted in several post-election interviews.
The fact that such a key appearance was at a pro-union event suggests that Shea-Porter knows what side her bread is buttered on, as unions and union-backed groups were major donors to her Congressional campaigns. However, allowing herself to be viewed as a union mouthpiece could prove a double-edged sword for Shea-Porter, as it has in the past. On the campaign trail, Shea-Porter frequently stated that she did not take money from “special interests,” which proved confusing to many constituents when her opponent Frank Guinta and others pointed to the tens of thousands of union dollars in her campaign coffers.
While many voters across the nation and in New Hampshire are looking to elected officials and community leaders to offer a reasonable, compromise-based solution to the problems states like Wisconsin are facing with public employees, joining in with sign-waving protesters is not befitting of a Congresswoman, former or future. However, Shea-Porter got her start protesting without offering solutions, so Granite Staters shouldn’t expect much more from her.