DSCC - Nashua Telegraph: Ayotte "continues to struggle," Lamontagne to launch website

According to media accounts and interviews with objective observers who were there, the former attorney general got at least a passing grade on substance, if not an incomplete on delivery. The Nashua Republican continues to struggle with a voice that at times becomes squeaky and doesn't project forcefully enough.


Nashua Telegraph: Passing grade

Kevin Landrigan 8/16/09

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090816/COLUMNISTS12/308169916/-1/opinion

 

Passing grade
The reviews are in for potential U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte's first public performance in Wolfeboro on Tuesday night.

According to media accounts and interviews with objective observers who were there, the former attorney general got at least a passing grade on substance, if not an incomplete on delivery.

The Nashua Republican continues to struggle with a voice that at times becomes squeaky and doesn't project forcefully enough.

There were few surprises – she's pro-life, pro-law enforcement and pro-fiscal conservative, views that place her squarely in the mainstream of those most likely to vote in the Republican primary in September 2010.

The GOP could make some solid gains here next year, but the challenge for Ayotte and others like her is to affirmatively make the case for a positive agenda, not one simply critical of Obama and the Democratic-dominated Congress.

Experienced hire
Ayotte has brought in a seasoned campaign manager and Capitol Hill aide as her first hire: Brooks Kochvar.

He comes to Ayotte after having served a stint as campaign manager and deputy chief of staff for Oregon Republican Sen. Gordon Smith.

Other jobs Kochvar has held include chief of staff and campaign manager for ex-Indiana Republican Congressman Chris Chocola and former Minnesota GOP congresswoman Michelle Bachmann.

"I'm really excited about this opportunity because I can already see in the short time I've been here that there's a lot of enthusiasm out there for Kelly,'' Kochvar said.

Ayotte's likely Republican opponent, 1996 nominee for governor Ovide Lamontagne, was recently honored with a Citizen of the Year Award by the Daniel Webster chapter of the Boy Scouts.

Later this week, Lamontagne will ramp up his exploratory campaign by unveiling a new Web site.