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Kelly Ayotte at bingo hall (Associated Press)

Kelly Ayotte Wins NH GOP Senate Nod

Sep 15, 2010

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Kelly Ayotte was officially declared the winner of the New Hampshire primary race for Senate Republican nomination. She defeated fellow conservative, Ovide Lamontagne, a lawyer and party activist; he was viewed as the Tea Party candidate in the race.

Ayotte, a former state attorney general, and the choice of both Sarah Palin and Republican Party officials, was certified the winner by the secretary of state's office.

She had been locked in a too-tight-to-call race with Lamontagne since the polls closed Tuesday evening. In the early returns he had held a significant lead but that dwindled as the evening wore on. Ayotte eventually took a slight lead which she never relinquished.

Her win took a little of the glow off the impressive Tuesday night performance of Tea Party candidates and would be interpreted as a defeat for Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) who has become the Tea Party's point person on Capitol Hill.

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