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August 25. 2013 10:55PM

Former state Sen. Lambert eyes run for 2nd District Congressional seat


GARY LAMBERT 

Former state Sen. Gary Lambert of Nashua said voters should expect a "positive event" when he announces next month whether he will run for Congress to challenge Rep. Annie Kuster.

The race for the Second Congressional District seat got easier for the patent and trademark attorney after former House Speaker William O’Brien, the perceived GOP front-runner, announced Friday he would not seek the seat because of a new job offer.

“I was very surprised like a lot of people,” Lambert said in an interview Sunday night. But, he added, “Speaker O’Brien never kind of factored into my decision anyway.”

Lambert several times talked as if he were already a candidate for the GOP nomination before inserting the words “if I run.”

Referring to his Sept. 4 announcement at the VFW Post 5791 in Hudson at 11 a.m., Lambert said: “I think it will be a positive message. It will be a positive event.”

Asked why he wasn’t saying Sunday he was running, Lambert said: “You’ve got to have some surprise. Everybody wants a birthday party surprise.”
 
Political analyst Dante Scala said a GOP challenger will need to raise at least $800,000 “to be taken seriously” for a congressional bid.
 
“Lambert is starting with virtually no name recognition,” Scala said.

In 2005, Lambert received the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq, serving during Operations Desert Shield/Storm, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Lambert will wrap up a 35-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in June 2014.

In 2012, Lambert announced he wouldn’t seek reelection to his District 13 state Senate seat after a judge found the Department of the Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps violated federal law by involuntarily retiring Lambert and 98 other colonels from the reserve in October 2009.

“I want to continue serving my country,” he said.

Lambert already has zeroed in on his campaign theme.
 
“My top message is I really have a concern for this country and those folks who are just stuck and can’t find a job and want to move up the economic ladder and can’t,” he said.

Next year’s GOP nominee will take on Kuster for the November 2014 election.

“You’ve got a congresswoman, again a first-time incumbent, who’s not very well known in the district,” Scala said. “If there’s a time to go after the seat, you’ve got a midterm election coming up; typically it’s not all that good for the President’s party.”

mcousineau@unionleader.com


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