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Trump country Dem takes risk by skipping swearing-in

Trump country Dem takes risk by skipping swearing-in
© Greg Nash

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is taking a big risk. 

The New Hampshire Democrat is not attending Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIG investigating Comey memos over classified information: report Overnight Defense: Congress poised for busy week on nominations, defense bill | Trump to deliver Naval Academy commencement speech | Trump administration appeals decision to block suspected combatant's transfer Top Pruitt aid requested backdate to resignation letter: report MORE’s inauguration even though the president-elect won her district by 2 percentage points in November. 

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As of Wednesday, she was the only Democrat representing a district won by Trump to say he or she will be skipping the event, according to a review by The Hill.

Unlike other Democrats who have gone out of their way to slam Trump when making their boycott plans known, Shea-Porter said she’d be attending “religious services.” Her office declined to provide further details.

“Instead of going to the Inauguration, I’ll go to religious services to pray for all of our leaders and people, then will serve my district,” Shea-Porter said in a Twitter post.  

Skipping the inauguration is a gamble that could cost her, as Shea-Porter’s Manchester-area district is one of the most competitive in the country.

She has traded the district twice in the last seven years with former Rep. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.), who she just unseated for a second time in 2016.

She was first elected to the House in 2006. Guinta successfully challenged her in 2010 and 2014, though campaign finance violations ultimately sank his reelection bid this past cycle.

New Hampshire Republicans have blasted Shea-Porter for boycotting Trump’s inauguration.

Jeanie Forrester, a candidate for chairwoman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, said her gesture dismissed the views of the district’s majority.

“Carol Shea-Porter has put her radical liberal ideology ahead of the people of her district. Her utter contempt for her own constituents is a breathtaking sign of disrespect for her voters, the country and the office of the President,” Forrester said in a statement. 

The rest of New Hampshire’s all-Democratic congressional delegation plans to attend the inauguration. Sens. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSenators pledge to pursue sanctions against Turkey over imprisoned American pastor Dems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination Menendez rips characterization of Pompeo as 'nation's top diplomat' MORE and Maggie Hassan, along with Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, all said they would be at Friday’s ceremony.

Kuster’s district narrowly went to Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPaltry wage gains, rising deficits two key tax reform concerns Trump pressed Sessions to fire FBI agents who sent anti-Trump texts: report DNC sues Russia, Trump campaign and WikiLeaks over alleged election interference MORE by 2 points.

Lou D’Allesandro, a New Hampshire Democratic state senator, downplayed the potential consequences of skipping the inauguration. Shea-Porter’s new term only just started, and she’ll have plenty of time over the next two years to show she’s delivering for the district, he said.

“I think she made a decision that she thought was in good conscience, and wants to do something constructive,” D’Allesandro said. “The proof is always in how you serve your constituents.”

Eleven other House Democrats represent districts won by Trump, according to data compiled by the Daily Kos. All except Shea-Porter are making a point to attend the inauguration. 

Trump won most of those districts by only a few points or less. But he won by double-digit margins in places represented by Minnesota Democratic Reps. Tim Walz, Rick Nolan and Collin Peterson, as well as in Rep. Matt Cartwright’s northeastern Pennsylvania district. 

Nolan said he’s going because he sees “a compelling need for civility.”

“I’m going out of respect for the office. Quite frankly, I just think you have to do that. It’s not about Trump; it’s about respect for the office and the peaceful transition of power,” Nolan said in an interview.

Other Democrats, like Rep. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosWe need more women in STEM — Aviation may be the key Rural Democrats deserve a better farm bill Lawmakers trade barbs, torch Trump at DC soiree MORE (Ill.), will go to the inauguration and also attend an anti-Trump Women’s March in Chicago the following day. 

Most of the nearly 60 Democrats who are boycotting the inauguration represent districts where Clinton won by comfortable margins. As of Wednesday, not a single Senate Democrat had said he or she would skip the event.

Reps. Adriano Espaillat and José Serrano, for instance, represent New York City districts where Clinton won more than 90 percent of the vote. Another Democratic boycotter, Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.), represents an Oakland-area district where 87 percent of voters chose Clinton.

They’re more likely to hear from constituents who want their representatives to oppose Trump.

Serrano, who represents the South Bronx, said in his boycott announcement that he “cannot celebrate the inauguration of a man who has no regard for my constituents.”

And instead of celebrating on Inauguration Day, Lee said she’d be “organizing and preparing for resistance.”