Ayotte Wins N.H. Senate Nod

Posted September 15, 2010 at 1:15pm

Former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte has been declared the winner of the state’s Republican Senate nomination, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Ayotte narrowly defeated tea party favorite Ovide Lamontagne in Tuesday’s primary, a bright spot for national Republicans in what turned out to be an otherwise melancholy evening.

With all precincts accounted for at about 1:40 p.m. — nearly 18 hours after polls closed — the state reported that Ayotte earned 53,044 votes to Lamontagne’s 51,377.

The slim margin of victory, just 1,667 votes, was enough to beat back a late surge from Lamontagne and give the Republican establishment and National Republican Senatorial Committee its preferred candidate in the general election matchup against Rep. Paul Hodes (D).

There’s been no word yet from the Lamontagne camp about whether he is seeking a recount.

Ayotte, 41, becomes the early favorite in the November election.