November 9th, 2009
12:55 PM ET
12 years ago

New Hampshire Senate battle heats up

(CNN) - The field in the race for New Hampshire's open Senate seat is growing.

Conservative activist Ovide Lamontagne, a 52-year-old Manchester attorney and 1996 GOP gubernatorial nominee, will officially become a candidate Monday for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by fellow Republican Judd Gregg, who is not running for re-election next year.

Lamontagne is filing a statement of his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission. His campaign also unveiled a new Web site,, which highlights his anti-establishment and anti-Washington bid for for the Senate.

"I am running for Senate because I am ready to fight for New Hampshire taxpayers, families and businesses," says Lamontagne in a statement on his website. "I am not the establishment candidate, but, as the independent minded conservative, I am ready to lead the effort to bring fiscal sanity and fundamental reform to Washington once and for all."

Lamontagne becomes the fourth official candidate in the race for the GOP nomination, joining former state attorney general Kelly Ayotte, businessmen James Bender of Hollis and William Binnie of Rye. Rep. Paul Hodes, who represents New Hampshire's 2nd district, is the only Democrat in the race.

Lamontagne has been weighing a run since earlier this year. Fundraising will be his first problem to tackle, as Ayotte brought in $600,000 in the third quarter and her campaign has more than half a million dollars in the bank. Lamontagne has promised his wife he won't use personal money to fund the campaign, which means he'll rely on personal contributions as well as political action committees to pay for his Senate bid.

Lamontagne says he's not worried that Gregg and some members of the Senate Republican leadership recruited Ayotte to run.

"I'm liberated by that," he told the New Hampshire Union Leader. "I don't want to be beholden to the national party or the party bosses. I'll never be the establishment candidate. I'll always be the people's candidate."

Will the battle for the GOP Senate nomination in New Hampshire turn into another NY-23, the congresional contest that grabbed headlines when support from the right for a conservative candidate forced the more moderate Republican candidate out of the race - and allowed the Democrats to win a district they hadn't won in generations?

"Does it ultimately become a major ideological primary? We just don't know at this point," says Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political. "To compare the race in New Hampshire to NY-23 is just wishful thinking for the Democrats. It's way too soon to be talking about that."

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Judd Gregg • Senate
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    No matter what Lamontagne says he will have to take his orders from the "3" head serpents Limbaugh, Palin and Hannity and that's not good for anybody.

    November 9, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    The GOP should just have all 4 of them sit down at a table with their hands tied behind their backs and see which one can eat a baby the fastest without using their hands...and if you don't like the analogy, I suggest you GOPers start wisening up, put down the pitchforks and torches and stop chasing off your moderates and other rational thinkers who don't rely solely on a dogmatic adeherence to ideological scripture as though they're all the Frankenstein monster.

    November 9, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. S M R

    Typical GOP Candidate saying one thing and then will do the opposite. SO LAME.

    November 9, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    No incumbent REPUBLICANS. Gregg should've taken the post the President offered him. now he's gonna be out of a job.

    November 9, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. Frank, Las Vegas

    Another seat that will go to the Democrats. Thank you!

    November 9, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. We Won Get Over It

    Goody goody all of Palins nut cases are starting to run..anti government anti-government. What a crock of you know what.

    We have the same government, the same departments, the same military, social security, medicare and all the things that government supply BUT nutcases are against it. I guess they think because McDonnell won against a lackluster opponent it will fire people up. And because the Mafia guy won against a guy who they compained was bought off by Goldman Sachs it adds to the fuel.

    The fact that they lost TWO HOUSE SEATS TO DEMOCRATS, one that had been in republican hands since 1872 didn't give them a clue.
    But then of course who said republicans had sense especially the dumb remarks the ones who post on this list, and are given preference by CNN and sometimes they get two while a democrat posting can't even get wonder CNN is last and falling.

    November 9, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. Emmanuel Goldstein

    This is a non-story. Ovide is a conservative gadfly that runs for everything in NH. He is something of a joke up there for his perpetual campaigning. If it weren't for MSM's obsession with demonizing the right, we wouldn't even be hearing about this guy outside of the occasional Union Leader story.

    November 9, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. Tayo, NY

    GOP at it again!

    Time will tell!!

    November 9, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. Hugo

    The Dumbocrats will self implode with their inability to understand that we are bankrupt as a Nation both fiscally and morally and there is no money to fund all of their "save the stupids from themselves" programs. I cannot wait for 2010 and 2012, I hope these progressive liberals end up tried for treason starting in Hollyweird!

    November 9, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. NH

    Word to the wise, here are the "Grassroots Picks" for major offices:

    Senate: Ovide Lamontagne

    Congress 2 – Bob Giuda
    Congress 1 – Frank Guinta

    Governor – Jack Kimball

    November 9, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. I am the flaccid and not so great wizard of rush

    The ReBirtherTea party will push the most radical right wing purist
    candidate and lose the seat to the Democrat.

    Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

    November 9, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. Vic of New York

    If the people of New Hampshire want to be smart, they will stick Ovide in the eye and elect a Democrat for the Senate.

    Folks from New Hampshire love their independence – and deserve it. Instead they got stuck with the debt from Iraq and a Financial Industry fiasco under the watch of their Republican Senator. Judd Gregg – otherwise a nice guy – was more interested in being a party "Conservative" than in keeping his eye on the till!

    It's time for New Hampshire to get its money's worth and get health insurance coverage the average person can afford.

    Don't let these Repugs pull the wool over your eyes with their scare tactics paid for by none other than the Health Insurance Industry. Just look a Lieberman if you want to see someone in the pockets of big business!

    November 9, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. gl, From Pittsburgh

    There is not room for women or minority in the Republicans party. This will be the second woman the Republicans came after.

    November 9, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  14. Tony

    Paul Hodes may win the Democrat nomination, but he's screwed anyway. He sealed his own fate by voting for the government health care bill. Whoever wins the Republican nomination will be the next senator from New Hampshire.

    November 9, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  15. John

    Surely the people of new hampshire are wiser than this nut job. They almost ran the train off the cliff a year ago but then like rats they jumped ship! – get it?

    November 9, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. Republicans are the American Taliban

    How anyone in New Hampshire could vote to be represented by a member of the Taliban is beyond me. If you do ...citizens of New will reap what you sow. You will be rewarded with lies, hate, fear and intolerance toward your fellow man.

    November 9, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. Tim

    In 1996 the voters made it clear that we were not interested on this indivuidal, so why would he think that we are now.The voters of NH have broken away from the party of the rich and are now better off for it.

    November 9, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  18. Bob Pacific Grove, Ca

    So the Dems are united and the Reps are divided in New Hampshire.....LOL!!! It just keeps getting better and better, right cons?......

    November 9, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |