By Aaron Blake - 07/20/09 05:52 PM EDT
Ayotte resigned her post on Friday and was widely expected to enter the race. She joins Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) in the contest for retiring Sen. Judd Gregg’s (R-N.H.) seat.
Ayotte should be the Republican frontrunner in the race, but businessman Fred Tausch and former gubernatorial nominee Ovide Lamontagne have also shown interest on the GOP side.
The seat is expected to be among the most competitive in the country, with Ayotte and Hodes having polled a virtual tie in a recent survey.