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New Hampshire: Hodes in for Senate, Swett for Congress

Just one day after the 2010 New Hampshire Senate race officially became an open-seat contest, Rep. Paul Hodes (D) was busy laying the groundwork for his campaign.

Contenders are already lining up to run for Hodes’ seat. Katrina Swett, the 2002 Democratic nominee in that district, is expected to run. Swett, the daughter of the late Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), explored running for Senate in 2008 and has more than $900,000 to use on a Congressional run.

In an interview with Roll Call on Wednesday, Hodes said he has already spoken with Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (N.J.) about the Senate race, although he would not say if the committee promised him support over other Democratic candidates.

Hodes said he is running to “continue to keep the great state of New Hampshire and our nation moving forward.”

He had already been weighing a Senate bid against Sen. Judd Gregg (R) in 2010, but Gregg’s impending departure from the Senate for the Obama administration made it the “right time” to run.

But Hodes isn’t the only New Hampshire Member considering a bid for Senate: Fellow two-term Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) has not publicly acknowledged her interest, but those close to her say she is considering running. Hodes represents the more Democratic-leaning 2nd district, while Shea-Porter represents the slightly more conservative 1st district.

Hodes said he notified Shea-Porter that he was announcing his candidacy.

“We work well together. She and I have discussed my intentions and I’ve made my decision and for the rest, I will leave you to talk to her,” he said.

On the Republican side, all eyes are on former Sen. John Sununu, who was ousted from office last year. Beyond Sununu, former Rep. Charlie Bass (R) and former Gov. Steve Merrill (R) are also mentioned as possible contenders.

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