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New Hampshire: Lamontagne Gets In, as Club Eyes Senate Race

The Club for Growth formally waded into the Florida Senate race on Monday, and the conservative anti-tax group may be looking to play in New Hampshire as well, where a fourth Republican just entered the race for retiring Sen. Judd Gregg’s (R) seat.

Ovide Lamontagne, a former GOP gubernatorial nominee, filed Monday to enter the 2010 Senate race, adding to an already crowded GOP primary field that features former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte and businessmen William Binnie and Jim Bender. Republican National Committeeman Sean Mahoney is considering a bid as well.

Club spokesman Mike Connolly confirmed that the organization has met with Ayotte, is scheduled to meet with Binnie and is in the process of scheduling a meeting with Lamontagne.

“As you can see from the meetings, we’re obviously taking a close look at it, but it’s too early in the process to speculate,— Connolly said.

National Republicans recruited Ayotte to get into the race after polls showed this summer that she led likely Democratic nominee Rep. Paul Hodes. Lamontagne has been exploring a bid for the past couple of months, headlining events in both Washington, D.C., and New Hampshire. And despite the crowded field, the 1996 gubernatorial nominee is confident he will have the means to wage a strong campaign.

“I’ve run before, I’ve raised substantial amount of money before — at least by New Hampshire standards — and I believe I’ll be able to raise the amount of money necessary to wage a campaign,— Lamontagne said in a Monday phone interview.