New Hampshire: Cornyn Says NRSC Not Endorsing Ayotte, Yet

Posted August 5, 2009 at 6:17pm

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) backed away from his planned September fundraiser for former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, who is the party’s top recruit in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Judd Gregg (R).

“We have not endorsed anybody in New Hampshire, and we’re taking this on a case-by-case basis,— Cornyn told reporters Wednesday. “But just as a general rule, we do not endorse anyone who does not ask for an endorsement, and Kelly Ayotte has not asked for an endorsement.—

Cornyn said the fundraiser, which is scheduled for Sept. 22 at the NRSC, should not be interpreted as an endorsement and was only planned to help Ayotte with fundraising so she can defeat the likely Democratic nominee, Rep. Paul Hodes, next year.

“It does not imply an endorsement,— Cornyn said. “And she has not asked. I respect the right of New Hampshire voters to pick their own candidate.—

Several other Republican candidates continue to seriously look at the race, including former gubernatorial nominee Ovide Lamontagne. Republican National Committeeman Sean Mahoney is also considering a bid.

Fernald Drops Out of 2nd District Race

Democratic 2002 gubernatorial nominee Mark Fernald has dropped out of the open-seat race for the 2nd district.

Fernald cited personal reasons for abandoning his bid two months after he got into the race to replace Rep. Paul Hodes (D). Hodes is stepping down to run for Senate.

Attorney Ann McLane Kuster (D) is still in the race, and former Congressional candidate Katrina Swett (D) — the daughter of the late Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) — is expected to run as well.