Ayotte Lead Grows, but Still No Result in New Hampshire Senate Race

Posted September 15, 2010 at 10:28am

Republican Kelly Ayotte appears to have survived a late surge from tea party favorite Ovide Lamontagne in the nation’s only outstanding Senate primary.

With 262 of 301 precincts reporting at 10:15 a.m., former Attorney General Ayotte had 39 percent of the vote compared with Lamontagne’s 37 percent, according to the Associated Press. That’s a difference of roughly 1,700 votes, and a significantly larger margin than was reported earlier Wednesday morning.

An official within the New Hampshire secretary of state’s office said that Granite State returns usually take longer than other states because e-mail results must be matched with paper tallies before being reported.

“We’re hoping most of it will be done by the end of the day,” she said, noting that the campaigns have staff on hand to monitor the reporting.

And while the tallying process has already lasted 14 hours, there are signs that Ayotte could be declared the victor in the very near future. A lead that was less than 1 percent after midnight has now doubled. And it appears that just one major population center, the Dover area, has yet to be recorded.

The preferred candidate of the national Republican establishment, Ayotte would be the slight frontrunner in the general election matchup against Rep. Paul Hodes (D) should she win the primary.