New Hampshire: Lynch Out, Eyes Turn to Hodes, Shea-Porter

Posted January 14, 2009 at 5:35pm

Gov. John Lynch (D) told reporters in New Hampshire on Wednesday that he will not run for Senate next year.

“I can tell you that although I don’t know what I’ll be doing in 2010, I’m not going to run for the United States Senate,” Lynch said, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader. “So, that shouldn’t be a distraction as I continue to work on the budget.”

Sen. Judd Gregg (R) announced in November that he plans to run for re-election. Democrats had hoped that Lynch — arguably the most popular politician in the state — would take him on, although local operatives said they were not surprised the three-term governor turned down a bid.

Speculation about possible challengers now focuses on sophomore Reps. Paul Hodes (D) and Carol Shea-Porter (D), both of whom are said to be interested in running against Gregg.

“As I have said before, I am seriously considering a race for the US Senate but my immediate focus is on the economic crisis and how to help New Hampshire middle class families to recover,” Hodes said in a statement.

Jamie Radice, a spokeswoman for Shea-Porter, would not comment directly on a potential Senate candidacy.

It is believed that Democratic insiders prefer a Hodes candidacy over Shea-Porter, in part because his House district would be easier for the party to retain in 2010.