Republicans get their candidate in New Hampshire Senate race with Ayotte win

New Hampshire Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte gave the Republican Party some good news Wednesday when she was declared the winner of that state's GOP primary.

The New Hampshire secretary of state's office announced Wednesday afternoon that Ayotte defeated Ovide Lamontagne, who claimed the Tea Party mantle.

Ayotte received 53,044 votes to Lamontagne's 51,377 votes. Lamontagne announced he will not pursue a recount.

Ayotte led in the polls before Tuesday's vote, but as results come in the race was too close to call throughout Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.

Lamontagne, the 1996 gubernatorial nominee, led in early returns. He made a big push in the final weeks of the campaign to tout his ties to the Tea Party movement, even though it gave him no financial support — a decision the group may come to regret, given the closeness of the race.

The final result was good news for the Republican Party, which suffered a blow Tuesday evening when Tea-Party-backed Christine O'Donnell defeated their choice in Delaware's GOP Senate primary.

Ayotte was backed by the state's Republican establishment, led by retiring Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, who lent Ayotte his grassroots network of support.



The national party also backed Ayotte, who won an early endorsement and a late robocall from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R).

Lamontagne picked up some key last-minute support from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who tweeted his endorsement of the candidate late last week.

He also talked up his support from conservative talk-radio host Laura Ingraham, whom he called "a strong supporter of our campaign."

Lamontagne also highlighted support from RedState blogger Erick Erickson, who questioned on his blog why money and energy was focused on O'Donnell in Delaware and not Lamontagne in New Hampshire.


Up until about two weeks ago, the primary was largely fought between Ayotte and businessman Bill Binnie. The two spent heavily on ads attacking one another in the run-up to the primary.

Ayotte faces Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) in November.

-- This post was updated 2:18. p.m., 2:33 p.m., and 4:13 p.m.