NRSC - GOP dodges primary in New Hampshire

GOP dodges primary in New Hampshire

The Hill, By Reid Wilson

Posted: 07/22/09 09:46 AM [ET]


New Hampshire Republicans may have averted a bruising Senate primary after a wealthy businessman declined to challenge a former attorney general for the GOP nomination.


Businessman Fred Tausch (R), who has blanketed the state with advertisements bashing increased federal spending, said he would not be a candidate for office in 2010 and would instead focus on his growing grassroots organization.


That leaves former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte as the clear favorite for the nomination. National Republicans put pressure on Ayotte to get into the race, and she resigned last week in anticipation of a bid.


“Many Republicans have encouraged me to be their voice as a candidate for office next year,” Tausch said in a statement. “.It was an honor to be approached and I gave the prospect serious consideration. But after careful deliberation, I've decided not to enter public service at this time.”


On Monday, Ayotte filed papers to form an exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission.


She may still face a competitive primary, as former state Board of Education chairman Ovide Lamontagne (R) is considering a bid. Lamontagne ran as the GOP's nominee for governor in 1996.


The eventual winner of the GOP primary will face Rep. Paul Hodes (D) in the race to replace retiring Sen. Judd Gregg (R).