- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte beat out a tea-party challenger for the New Hampshire Republican Senate nomination, the secretary of state’s office reported Wednesday.

Ms. Ayotte finished with 53,044 votes, compared with 51,377 for Ovide Lamontagne, according to official results.

Her narrow win over Mr. Lamontagne is a bright spot for the Republican establishment, which saw its pick in Delaware, moderate Rep. Mike Castle, defeated by tea-party insurgent Christine O’Donnell Tuesday night.

Like Ms. O’Donnell, Ms. Ayotte received the endorsement of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. But Mr. Lamontagne, an attorney, challenged her from the right, a position he bolstered with support from key conservative Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina.

The race had been too close to call Tuesday.

Ms. Ayotte, who served as the state’s top prosecutor from 2004 to 2009, will now face Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes in November. The pair is vying to replace outgoing Sen. Judd Gregg, a Republican.