New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who has endorsed Mitt Romney’s presidential bid, said Thursday the former Massachusetts governor’s win in Iowa, no matter how slim the margin, has President Obama and his fellow Democrats worried.
“The Democratic National Committee is hoping that Mitt Romney is not our nominee because the president does not want to run against him,” the 43-year-old freshman senator said in an interview with The Washington Times-affiliated “America’s Morning News” radio program. “So they already have their spin machine up on this whole thing.”
Mrs. Ayotte, considered a rising star in the GOP, added that “the reality is [Mr. Romney] won Iowa. He’s got a national campaign and he’s going to take it state to state until he gets the nomination.”
Mrs. Ayotte acknowledged that Rick Santorum, who finished just eight votes behind Mr. Romney in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses, is likely to see his poll numbers rise in New Hampshire — but she doubts the former Pennsylvania senator has the resources needed to mount a serious challenge for the GOP nomination.
“I wasn’t surprised that he would move out of single digits,” the former New Hampshire attorney general said. “But I don’t think Rick Santorum has the organization to take New Hampshire, nor to take it nationally.”
Mrs. Ayotte, who endorsed the Romney campaign in November, is one of several big-name Republicans in the state backing the former Massachusetts governor in Tuesday’s first-in-the-nation primary, joining former Sen. Judd Gregg and former Gov. John H. Sununu.
Polls in New Hampshire have shown Mr. Romney holding a big lead — 30 percentage points or more — over the rest of the GOP field, including Mr. Santorum, but that lead has shrunk since the Iowa vote Tuesday.