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  NH's Ayotte Is A Worry For Dems
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ContributorScottĀ³ 
Last EditedScottĀ³  Jul 17, 2009 10:34am
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AuthorJENNIFER SKALKA
News DateTuesday, July 7, 2009 04:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionThe Hotline

"NH AG Kelly Ayotte's entry into the NH SEN contest as the Republican establishment's candidate of choice could resuscitate the state's languid GOP, according to activists of both parties.

Ayotte, 40, announced today that she would leave the AG's office to explore a run for Sen. Judd Gregg's (R) seat, and by all accounts, a bid is a forgone conclusion. Sources tell On Call that Ayotte was wooed by Gregg's longtime coterie of advisors, including his ex-CoS, Joel Maoila.

"I think she's a very, very able person, and we're going to see whether she's a good candidate," said GOP atty/ex-state AG Tom Rath. "I think it's exciting. I think it's not business as usual for us. Business as usual for us wasn't going so good."

The Granite State's first female AG, Ayotte will face a primary challenge from Nashua businessman Fred Tausch, who's already pouring money into a TV ad campaign and big money consultants, including Mike Dennehy, the well-respected GOPer who has advised several WH candidates. But Tausch is a political neophyte, unknown to state voters. And Ayotte, sources say, has the benefit of being new to electoral politics while having served the state. She also has the private backing, sources suggest, of Gregg and his team.

Whoever emerges from the primary contest will face two-term Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH) in the general. Hodes is not yet well-known statewide, according to a recent University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll. Hodes' statewide favorable rating was 32%, his unfavorable review 23%, with 8% of voters neutral and 37% responding that they didn't know enough to say. Ayotte, who has served two govs of different parties as AG, rates favorably at 45%. Her unfavorables were at 8%, with 7% neutral and 40% who said they didn't know enough about her to weigh in.

So Hodes has a net positive rating of 9 points, while Ayotte's net favorables are 38 points."
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