"I don't know if that's good for Dan Innis, but it's good for the Republican Party," says Scott Tranchemontagne, a New Hampshire Republican consultant. "I think having Dan Innis and Marilinda Garcia helps the Republican brand and does, hopefully, open peoples' eyes to the fact that Republicans in New Hampshire are a big tent."
However, many of the party's leaders have lined up behind former Representative Frank Guinta. He has a formidable political organization and has outraised Innis 2-to-1, with about four times as much cash on hand, according to the latest campaign finance report.
Senator Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire's only statewide elected Republican, has hosted a fundraiser for Guinta, as have House bigwigs like Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy. Former vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan of Wisconsin came all the way to Manchester to support Guinta. Every week, his campaign rolls out fresh endorsements from local party officials and activists, more than 300 so far.
Even Richard Tisei, another openly gay Republican who is running as a moderate next door in Massachusetts, joined a joint fundraising committee with Guinta, who opposes same-sex marriage.
Innis says he's been treated fairly by party leaders, but acknowledged that Tisei's move stung him. "It says to me that they're both willing to compromise their values for money," he said.
Guy Harrison, the former executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, says the endorsements aren't about Innis. "They have a tried and true conservative who they actually know. I don't think this is a case of anyone doing anything collectively, it's just a case of them having friendships," he said.
Instead of the party, Innis is pinning his hopes on two deep-pocketed super PACs, which have already pledged to spend a combined $1.2 million to support his candidacy. They can help by boosting his name ID, since only about a quarter of the district's voters know him. Still, he's popular among those who do, while Guinta's favorability rating is in the negatives, though he's much more widely known.
It's a similar story 75 miles south in Salem, where Garcia, a 31-year-old member of the state House, is locked in a Republican primary for the right to challenge Democratic Representative Ann McLane Kuster in the state's other congressional district.
Garcia, who was first elected eight years ago at 23, gets lots of questions about her age, but notes that she has more legislative experience than either Kuster or her Republican primary opponent, a former Marine and state senator named Gary Lambert. "Even though I'm the young underdog, I'm actually the senior legislator of the bunch," she says with a laugh.
The Republican National Committee selected Garcia, who has degrees from Harvard, Tufts, and the New England Conservatory of Music (she plays the harp), as one of its 14 "Rising Stars" last year. In March, she was featured on a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference.