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Ayotte to Resign, Prepares to Enter N.H. Senate Race

New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte (R) announced Tuesday that she is resigning in order to explore a bid for retiring Sen. Judd Gregg’s (R) seat in 2010. “After discussing this matter with my husband, Joe, and our family, I have decided to resign as Attorney General in order to explore a campaign for the United States Senate,— Ayotte said in a statement. Ayotte’s resignation will be effective July 17, and after that date she will discuss the Senate bid. Her move is a big recruiting victory for Senate Republicans, who had been actively recruiting her.Although Ayotte was appointed to her post and has never been elected statewide, recent public polling showed she would be competitive in a race against Rep. Paul Hodes, the likely Democratic nominee. A spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Amber Wilkerson, said Republicans are pleased that Ayotte is looking at the race. “Clearly Ayotte will be a formidable candidate for the U.S. Senate if she decides to run,— Wilkerson said.Senate Democrats are supporting Hodes, who is the only serious candidate in the race from either party thus far. Hodes announced in an e-mail to supporters last week that he had raised $725,000 for his statewide bid in the second quarter of this year.

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