Sununu won't seek Senate return

Former Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.) will not seek a return to the Senate in 2010, he announced Wednesday.

Sununu had the right of first refusal on the race, but coming off his loss to Democrat Jeanne Shaheen in 2008, he never showed much interest in running for retiring Sen. Judd Gregg's (R-N.H.) seat.

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Sununu's decision not to run opens the door to other Republicans, including state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte and former Rep. Charlie Bass. Also looking at a campaign are former gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne and businessman Fred Tausch.

Tausch appear particularly likely to enter the race, having hired former Sununu staffers and getting his name out with an ad campaign decrying the fiscal policies passing in Congress.

Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) got into the race early this year and has been alone ever since, with no Republicans and no Democrats emerging to face him.

Gregg decided not to seek another term in the Senate after his nomination as President Obama’s Commerce Secretary didn’t work out.