DSCC - The Hill: GOPers not yielding to Ayotte yet

GOPers not yielding Ayotte

The Hill

July 7, 2009

Aaron Blake



New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte's (R) potential Senate primary opponents aren't backing down.


Former Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.) emphasized Tuesday that Ayotte is his friend, but he said that her candidacy for Senate wouldn't necessarily force him to look elsewhere.


Ayotte announced her resignation Tuesday to look into a potential Senate campaign, and she is expected to run.


"We'll be watching each other's work, if you will, and probably talk to each other," Bass said. "But it's so early. At least for New Hampshire, it is."


Bass said he and Ayotte would "certainly try" to avoid running for Senate against each other. When asked if it was true that he wouldn't necessarily yield to her, he said, "That's correct."


Bass is also looking at running for the House seat he lost in 2006.


Former gubernatorial nominee Ovide Lamontagne (R) also indicated he wouldn't be stepping aside for Ayotte.


In a voicemail, Lamontagne didn't say what he would do if Ayotte got in, but he said the fact that she's resigning to consider the race doesn't sway him at all.


"The factors that bear most directly on that decision are my family, my firm and whether this is the right time for me to be a candidate for office and to represent New Hampshire in the United States Senate," he said.


A third potential candidate, Fred Tausch, seems likely to run for the seat but has yet to return a request for comment.


Former Republican National Committeeman Sean Mahoney has also shown interest in the race.