Kelly Ayotte Declared Winner Of NH Senate Republican Primary

After an extremely close race, former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte has won the Republican nomination for senator in New Hampshire, the secretary of state has announced. Ayotte leads tea party-backed Ovide Lamontagne by little more than 1,600 votes.

Lamontagne had shown signs of a surge in the past few weeks, and the closeness of the results may mean that he could possibly call for a recount.

If the results stand, Ayotte will face Rep. Paul Hodes (D) in the general election.Ayotte, who got the all-important “Mama Grizzly” endorsement from Sarah Palin, lost a lot of ground recently following some primary in-fighting and questions about her conservative record while serving as Attorney General.

Lamontagne’s conservative cred was not quite enough to overcome Ayotte’s establishment backing, though she is heading into the general election somewhat weaker than she was a few months ago. The TPM Poll Average shows Ayotte beating Hodes 48.2%-38.0%, though some recent polls show Hodes gaining ground.

Full coverage of the race here.