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John DiStaso's Granite Status: Rep. Marilinda Garcia tells fellow Republicans she's eyeing a run for Congress

TUESDAY, OCT. 22: MARILINDA FOR CONGRESS? "Rising star" Republican state Rep. Marilinda Garcia of Salem is thinking about an attempt to move up the political ladder.

We've learned the 30-year-old four-term New Hampshire House member has been telling fellow Republicans she is thinking seriously about running for the U.S. House from the 2nd Congressional District next year.

A Garcia candidacy would put her in Republican primary with already-announced candidate Gary Lambert, the former one-term state senator and retired Marine from Nashua.

Republicans view the 2nd District seat as wide open, especially with Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster doing mediocre at best in recent polling. A UNH poll for WMUR last week had Kuster with a favorable/unfavorable rating of 23/28 percent, with 40 percent not knowing enough about her to say.

The poll also showed Lambert and Kuster in a statistical dead heat, at 34 to 33 percent, respectively.

A GOP source says Garcia appears to be about 90 percent "in," and said she is eyeing an announcement in early November. Several other Republicans say she is talking about it.

Garcia downplayed the possibility of a congressional run in an email Tuesday afternoon.

"I frankly don't have any information to report about Congressional plans," she wrote.

Garcia was first elected to the New Hampshire House in 2006, at age 23, and currently services on the Finance Committee. She also served on the super-committee last year that looked deeply into the ramifications of casino gambling in the state.

Despite being from Salem, the home of Rockingham Park, Garcia opposed expanded gambling in the most recent legislative session.

She has won numerous awards from the Republican Party, including being named a "Rising Star" by the Republican National Committee earlier this year.

According to her web site, she is on the executive board of Americans by Choice, a national group promoting immigration reform created earlier this year by former state Republican Party Chairman Fergus Cullen.

(See earlier Granite Status reports elsewhere on this page or by clicking on "Granite Status" above.)

Trace Adkins
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