(CNN) - The New Hampshire Secretary of State Wednesday afternoon released official results on their website that show former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte as the winner of the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.
Ayotte, who was considered the GOP establishment candidate, pulled out a narrow victory in the final hours of the primary against her main opponent, Ovide Lamontagne, who enjoyed the support of many Tea Party activists. Ayotte garnered Sarah Palin's endorsement, among other high-profile support.
Lamontagne has until 5 p.m. ET to decide whether he'll seek a recount because the vote margin fell within 1.5 percent of the total votes cast. Jim Merrill, a senior adviser to his campaign, told CNN "stay tuned," as to whether or not Lamontagne will challenge the results.
(CNN) - The Republican Senate primary in New Hampshire is locked in a tight battle between a hard-charging conservative and a candidate favored by establishment Republicans.
Kelly Ayotte, the state's former attorney general, held less than a 1000-vote lead over Ovide Lamontagne, a Manchester attorney and the 1996 Republican nominee for governor, with 85 percent of precincts counted, AP reported. The difference is less than 1 percent of the vote.
(CNN) - It may not be grabbing the national spotlight like the Republican Senate primary in Delaware, but the GOP Senate primary in New Hampshire shares a similar storyline: A hard-charging conservative candidate threatening to upset the candidate favored by establishment Republicans.
Kelly Ayotte, the state's former attorney general, stepped down to run for the Senate nomination after being encouraged to run for the open seat by national Republicans. For months, polls suggested that Ayotte was the frontrunner in the seven-candidate contest, which also includes businessmen Bill Binnie and Jim Bender. But recent surveys in the Granite State indicate that Ovide Lamontagne, a Manchester attorney and the 1996 Republican nominee for governor, has narrowed the gap with Ayotte.
Local Tea Party groups, the conservative New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper and influential conservative Sen. Jim DeMint have all backed Lamontagne. The Union Leader, the state's largest paper, has also been critical of Ayotte.
But the biggest difference with the Delaware race is that Sarah Palin is endorsing the more conservative Christine O'Donnell there. In New Hampshire, the former Alaska governor is backing Ayotte.
(CNN) - The New Hampshire Attorney General's office is investigating whether Democratic Senate hopeful Paul Hodes ran "push polls" intended to cast a potential rival, Republican candidate Kelly Ayotte, in a negative light.
The phone calls in question hit New Hampshire households last week and raised questions about Ayotte's handling, when she was Attorney General, of a mortgage firm at the center of a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors. The Hodes campaign had previously run television ads attacking Ayotte on the topic.
But according to state law, polling calls "which state, imply or convey information about the candidate's character, status or political stance or record" are considered push polls and punishable by fines or jail time.
(CNN) – Former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte's Senate campaign isn't the only one revved up by Monday's endorsement from Sarah Palin - Democrat Paul Hodes is pretty happy about it too.
"We couldn't be more thrilled that Sarah Palin chose to endorse Kelly Ayotte," Mark Bergman, Hodes's campaign communications director, said Tuesday during a conference call with reporters. "[…]The people of New Hampshire have already rejected Sarah Palin once in the general election and we're pretty certain we're going to do it again."
"We call on Kelly Ayotte today to tell us that Sarah Palin will be here in October campaigning for her," Bergman said. "We hope she does. I mean, that would be really helpful for our campaign."
Hodes, a one-term congressman, is running unopposed for the Democratic Senatorial nomination in the Granite State. Ayotte faces two GOP primary opponents.
"Sarah Palin is welcome here anytime to call out Paul Hodes's false attacks," Ayotte's Communications Director Jeff Grappone told CNN.
(CNN) – Sarah Palin sided with another "Mama Grizzly" in a prominent Republican primary on Monday, endorsing Kelly Ayotte for Senate in New Hampshire.
The endorsement is Palin's first political move in the state, which will once again hold the first-in-the-nation Republican presidential primary in February 2012. She has already backed midterm candidates in the other key early states of Iowa and South Carolina, but has not visited New Hampshire since the 2008 presidential race.
Ayotte, the state's Attorney General until last year, has three opponents in the GOP primary, but the race has shaped up as a battle between her and Bill Binnie, a millionaire businessman who has given more than $3 million to his own campaign.
"Kelly is the strongest commonsense conservative who can win in the fall," Palin wrote on her Facebook page. "I knew I liked her when I met her earlier this year, and I know this Granite Grizzly will represent New Hampshire with distinction in Washington."
Palin's endorsement is somewhat of a surprise, given Ayotte's sometimes troubled relationship with conservative activists in the Granite State. She won the early backing of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, earning her a reputation as the "establishment" figure in the race.
Having Palin's backing could fix all that, according to several top Republicans in the state.