Ayotte holding narrow lead over Lamontagne

posted at 9:30 am on September 15, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The final primary night may last a little while longer, at least in New Hampshire, where the Republican nomination has resulted in a photo finish.  With over 85% of the precincts counted, Attorney General Kelly Ayotte has taken a lead of less than a thousand votes over Ovide Lamontagne.  The final result may be so close that it will take a recount to confirm:

Five hours after polls closed in New Hampshire, former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte was clinging to a 1-point lead over surging local tea party favorite Ovide Lamontagne early Wednesday morning in the Granite State’s Republican Senate primary.

As of 1:45 a.m., Ayotte led 38.4 percent to Lamontagne’s 37.3 percent with 81 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press.

Should she hold on to her slim margin, Ayotte — the pick of the national Republican establishment — would become the favorite in the general election contest against Democratic Rep. Paul W. Hodes in the race to replace retiring Sen. Judd Gregg.

Politico’s tracking has 85.4% of the precincts counted and a narrower lead for Ayotte, 38.2% to 37.4%, as of 7:35 this morning.  The Union Leader shows the vote totals giving Ayotte slightly less than a thousand-vote margin, which in a race where a little over 100,000 votes were probably cast, might not be significant enough for Lamontagne to accept at face value.  Assuming the lead doesn’t change again — Lamontangne led for most of the evening — I’d guess that we may not lock in the GOP nominee for another few days.

The rest of the New Hampshire results are more solid.  Frank Guinta ended up on top of a crowded field to challenge Carol Shea-Porter for her House seat in NH-01.  Guinta edged businessman Rich Ashooh, who made sure to pledge his support to Guinta before the evening was over.  Sean Mahoney, the self-funding conservative, dropped to third in the race.  In NH-02, former Rep. Charlie Bass won another close race against Jennifer Horn for the GOP nomination.  He will face Obama delegate and Democratic Party activist Annie Kuster for Paul Hodes’ vacant seat.

Hopefully, when the counting resumes this morning, we will see a clear-cut winner in the Senate primary as well.  However, New Hampshire and other late-primary states might want to rethink their scheduling if this drags out for another week or so.  September primaries leave everyone with a short timeframe for actual debate on the issues, and no time for a recount and/or challenge if needed.


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Why did these results take so long in coming in?

Abby Adams on September 15, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Yes, but will there be a civil war over it?

abobo on September 15, 2010 at 9:34 AM

This is shaping up to be the most exciting election season evah! The people are up in arms and out in force. Reagan would be proud of the new ‘Morning in America”

Guardian on September 15, 2010 at 9:35 AM

If Ayotte holds on, chalk up another successful endorsement for Palin. And thankfully the polling shows Ayotte easily winning that Senate seat.

Doughboy on September 15, 2010 at 9:37 AM

I like both of these candidates and I’m confident that no matter who the winner is, they will be successful in November.

I do question the knee-jerk reaction to establishment choices, though. They do make a lot of bad decisions on who to back, but that doesn’t mean they’re all bad decisions. Seems like a lot of the anti-Ayotte backlash was due to her being the establishment’s choice, as though that in and of itself was a killer.

Red Cloud on September 15, 2010 at 9:38 AM

The nomination is Palin’s, if she wants it!

huckleberryfriend on September 15, 2010 at 9:38 AM

It looks like they’re counting again in NH…

takeamericabackin10 on September 15, 2010 at 9:41 AM

It’s highly unlikely that Lamontagne can make up a 1000 vote deficit.

Check out the map: http://www.politico.com/2010/maps/#/Senate/2010/NH

takeamericabackin10 on September 15, 2010 at 9:42 AM

I believe DeMint endorsed her opponent. Apparently, both are good conservative candidates.

a capella on September 15, 2010 at 9:44 AM

Just a question here … I haven’t been following this race at all.

But … which candidate is the NRSC supporting?

I’ll cheer for the other.

HondaV65 on September 15, 2010 at 9:45 AM

chalk up another win for Palin. This lady has the midas touch with endorsement.

james23 on September 15, 2010 at 9:48 AM

This race was win-win for conservatives, but since elites were behind Ovide and Palin was behind Ayotte, I was pulling for the latter.

Want to hear another elite whine today? Tune in to hear Laura Ingraham, who evidently had the contract to cater the victory party for Ovide.

james23 on September 15, 2010 at 9:51 AM

Looks like Sarah’s endorsement is worth real money; Chris Christie’s endorsement, even in neighboring DE, not so much.

TimTebowSavesAmerica on September 15, 2010 at 9:52 AM

This is a perfect example of why the NRSC should not get involved in primaries. They should remain neutral until a candidate has been picked.This is what you get otherwise.

sandee on September 15, 2010 at 9:52 AM

Should have posted that on the other thread, but it should be heeded in every primary from now on. STAY OUT OF IT.

sandee on September 15, 2010 at 9:54 AM

O’Donnell wins.

Fenty loses.

The only silver lining on last nights primaries would be an Ayotte win.

It's Vintage, Duh on September 15, 2010 at 9:54 AM

Should she hold on to her slim margin, Ayotte — the pick of the national Republican establishment — would become the favorite in the general election contest against Democratic Rep. Paul W. Hodes in the race to replace retiring Sen. Judd Gregg.

Hopefully, some more purity votes can be found for Lamontagne, so that this seat can be thrown away as well.

Vashta.Nerada on September 15, 2010 at 9:54 AM

The really big story according to Momma Dog is the turnout.

In one town, 78 Dems, Almost 400 Republicans. Bear in mind NH is a tiny state with few people (approx. 1.3 million)

If you tally up the Dem primary votes and compare them to the GOP turnout, the Dems should be very unahppy about now.

dogsoldier on September 15, 2010 at 9:58 AM

A Palin endorsement can stop a Demint/Tea Party backed candidate…

Impressive

LurkerDood on September 15, 2010 at 9:58 AM

Ayotte is up by nearly 1700 votes with 87% reporting. It’s over.

takeamericabackin10 on September 15, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Why did these results take so long in coming in?

Abby Adams on September 15, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Karl Rove was pitching a hissy fit on Fox and everyone stopped counting the ballots.

Rovin on September 15, 2010 at 10:06 AM

Wow, Lamontagne was doing a brisk business last night, DireStraits was under the impression that he had it all locked up.

Someone throw some food, let’s get this thread humming.

Bishop on September 15, 2010 at 10:14 AM

Question for those in NH and other late primary states: why is your primary so late in the election season? I didn’t even know anyone had primaries so late. As Ed noted, there’s not a whole lot of time for the regular election campaign, to say nothing of allowing time for possible recounts.

jwolf on September 15, 2010 at 10:14 AM

Sarah Palin will be speaking in Iowa on Friday.

Palin strikes gold with her endorsements of O’Donnell and probably Ayotte.

Does anyone really believe Palin will not run for POTUS in 2012? If you do then you are either delusional, disingenuous or a misogynist.

technopeasant on September 15, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Karl Rove was pitching a hissy fit on Fox and everyone stopped counting the ballots.

Rovin on September 15, 2010 at 10:06 AM

(: SNICKER

dhunter on September 15, 2010 at 10:26 AM

Hopefully, some more purity votes can be found for Lamontagne, so that this seat can be thrown away as well.

Vashta.Nerada on September 15, 2010 at 9:54 AM

Lamontagne would also beat Hodes. Both candidates here are pretty solid.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 15, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Question for those in NH and other late primary states: why is your primary so late in the election season? I didn’t even know anyone had primaries so late. As Ed noted, there’s not a whole lot of time for the regular election campaign, to say nothing of allowing time for possible recounts.

jwolf on September 15, 2010 at 10:14 AM

This is REALLY ironic for New Hampshire, which holds its Presidential primary in January or February, and prides itself on the first primary in the nation, after the Iowa caucuses.

Why do Congressional primary candidates have to trudge through the snow in Presidential years, but wait until September in midterm years? Why not have a primary in, say, May or June in all years?

Steve Z on September 15, 2010 at 10:28 AM

Want to hear another elite whine today? Tune in to hear Laura Ingraham, who evidently had the contract to cater the victory party for Ovide.

I never considered Laura Ingraham an elite but maybe she is.

journeyscarab on September 15, 2010 at 10:29 AM

Why do Congressional primary candidates have to trudge through the snow in Presidential years, but wait until September in midterm years? Why not have a primary in, say, May or June in all years?

Steve Z on September 15, 2010 at 10:28 AM

Let me take a crack at this one:

So that by the time the general rolls aroud Mitt can decide who he supports in the previous falls primary?

dhunter on September 15, 2010 at 10:31 AM

HondaV65 on September 15, 2010 at 9:45 AM

Careful. Sarah Palin might be disappointed that you are avoiding Ayotte, since it’s plausible the NRSC supports her.

The NRSC isn’t always in the wrong.

BradSchwartze on September 15, 2010 at 10:31 AM

I never considered Laura Ingraham an elite but maybe she is.

journeyscarab on September 15, 2010 at 10:29 AM

I put her in the “go with the Republican that can win” catagory.

WisRich on September 15, 2010 at 10:34 AM

category

WisRich on September 15, 2010 at 10:34 AM

I put her in the “go with the Republican that can win” catagory.

WisRich on September 15, 2010 at 10:34 AM

But she endorsed the completely unelectable O’Donnell…soooo….

It's Vintage, Duh on September 15, 2010 at 10:37 AM

Who’s counting the votes? The Flintstones and the Rubbles?

BuckeyeSam on September 15, 2010 at 10:39 AM

[Steve Z on September 15, 2010 at 10:28 AM]

I prefer the longer runs, particularly in presidential years. It much safer that way, overall. I do however think that that primaries should have ended by August 1 +/-. These “last minute” September primaries are a bad idea.

In the final analysis, it is this way because it’s up to each individual state. We’re a Republic, and the states can do what they want in this regard, and the last thing I want to make talk that give the Federal government ideas they have no business thinking about.

Dusty on September 15, 2010 at 10:48 AM

Dusty: “We’re a Republic, and the states can do what they want in this regard…”

Apparently the Dems haven’t gotten THAT message! :)

November 2010 is all about reminding the Democrats that we ARE a Republic…and have a FEDERAL system which means the States are federated within it…with the intent of most government power being at the STATE level.

Granted, not all Repubs get this…but virtually ZERO Democrats get it!

Justrand on September 15, 2010 at 10:52 AM

Red Cloud on September 15, 2010 at 9:38 AM

I am with you on your valid points. Both candidates look good.

onlineanalyst on September 15, 2010 at 11:11 AM

It’s Vintage, Duh on September 15, 2010 at 9:54 AM

Man, if I lived in the District, I’d have voted for Fenty, too, but, sheesh, it’s not like Marion Barry’s coming back.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on September 15, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Wow, Lamontagne was doing a brisk business last night, DireStraits was under the impression that he had it all locked up.

Someone throw some food, let’s get this thread humming.

Bishop on September 15, 2010 at 10:14 AM

I don’t think there’s much food in this case. Both candidates are pretty solid potential Senators.

jarodea on September 15, 2010 at 11:17 AM

normally, I’m a palin supporter. but ayotte isn’t “one of us”

the fundraiser in washington fixed that in my mind. she wants desperately to be a washington person. she wants to be another judd gregg who has sotamayor and kagan as his legacy. that will not help us.

remember, they haven’t even gotten to the absentee ballots yet.

warhorse_03826 on September 15, 2010 at 11:27 AM

normally, I’m a palin supporter. but ayotte isn’t “one of us”

the fundraiser in washington fixed that in my mind. she wants desperately to be a washington person. she wants to be another judd gregg who has sotamayor and kagan as his legacy. that will not help us.

remember, they haven’t even gotten to the absentee ballots yet.

warhorse_03826 on September 15, 2010 at 11:27 AM

disagree. there’s a lot of phonies out there, but everything i’ve read on ayotte seems otherwise. EVERYONE does fundraisers, even with weird circumstances.

palin wouldn’t have picked her if she was a rino (ie: palin didnt pick KBH over perry)

picklesgap on September 15, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Yes, everything I heard about this race was the opposite of the NH race.

No matter which candidate in NH wins, conservatives win.

Now, if only this could have happened in DE…

Scott H on September 15, 2010 at 11:49 AM

I don’t think there’s much food in this case. Both candidates are pretty solid potential Senators.

jarodea on September 15, 2010 at 11:17 AM

I have little trouble with “establishment” people who understand where their power is supposed to come from. Too many in the upper echelons of the GOP have forgotten that, so we end up with what happened to Castle yesterday. The GOP needs to get their heads out and become a party that listens to it’s members instead of dictating from on high. This reform is going to be painful for some of them, and trust will be wanting and easily lost if they backslide.

For many the reform, if any, will be unacknowledged by the reformed. McCain, for instance, is too stiff-necked to admit his signature legislation was the wrong way to go, but I will take his opposition of DISCLOSE as the closest thing to a mea culpa on that issue he is able to give and forgive his past so long as he avoids abjectly unconstitutional stink-bombs in the future. I also think he should not be pressed too hard on it from the Right so long as he “sins no more”. I hope his recent scares in the primaries and the response the conservative message invokes is getting through to him. If it has, we may see a McCain who “moderates” from a conservative starting point rather than trying to sell lefty poison to conservatives by peeing in the cup and calling it “moderation”. Should he backslide again, though, I might just move to AZ just for the privilege of voting for his primary opponent in 2016.

In NH, the “establishment” candidate is a bit more apt to work with conservatives rather than undercut and back-stab. The primary there is somewhat of a win-win for the conservative cause.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on September 15, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Wow, Lamontagne was doing a brisk business last night, DireStraits was under the impression that he had it all locked up.

Someone throw some food, let’s get this thread humming.

Bishop on September 15, 2010 at 10:14 AM

I thought I was under the impression it was going to be close..:)..No food fight here..Both sound ok to me..:)

Dire Straits on September 15, 2010 at 11:52 AM

I believe DeMint endorsed her opponent. Apparently, both are good conservative candidates.

a capella on September 15, 2010 at 9:44 AM

Yeah, both are good folks.

I think Sarah chose Ayotte because she was the current AG.

gary4205 on September 15, 2010 at 12:30 PM

warhorse_03826 on September 15, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Have to agree with picklesgap here. And not just on Ayotte, but on your characterization of Gregg. You can’t blame Judd Gregg for Sotomayor and Kagen-blame the Republicans who stayed away from the polls in 2008 to “teach the Republican Party a lesson”. Remember, 33% of all Americans didn’t even vote, and many were those Repubs.

Some here in NH have quibbles with Gregg but overall he’s served our state well. Certainly far better than have people like Paul Hodes and Carole Che-Porter.

BTW it’s going to be great to drive around without seeing all of those fricking BINNIE signs. Good riddance to that clown!

Del Dolemonte on September 15, 2010 at 12:36 PM

I think New Hampshire is a little to full of itself. There is no reason to keep the whole world hanging on like this. Its noon on Wednesday. The polls closed at 7:00 PM in a tiny, tiny state. I could have driven to Montreal and back again. Seriously, someone is power tripping over there. Get over yourself, whoever you are.

swamp_yankee on September 15, 2010 at 1:15 PM

CONCORD – 1:18 p.m. The Secretary of State’s office has just announced that Kelly Ayotte has won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate with 53,044 votes. Ovide Lamontagne received 51,377 votes. More to follow..

Ricki on September 15, 2010 at 1:45 PM

I saw that too, and Lamontagne is said to be “considering” asking for a recount, but leaning against it. Ayotte’s margin is 1.22% of the total votes cast, so it’s highly unlikely that a recount would overturn the result, especially if neither of the candidates is a Democrat.

Lamontagne should do the classy, gentlemanly thing: concede and endorse Ayotte, who will need all the time she can get to shift to a general-election campaign. Unlike O’Donnell, Ayotte as a GOP nominee currently enjoys an 8-point lead in the RCP average, with an excellent chance of becoming a Senator.

Steve Z on September 15, 2010 at 3:26 PM

Both candidates here are pretty solid.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 15, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Too bad we can’t spread them around. Nice to have a choice of the greater of two goods, rather than the lesser of two evils.

pannw on September 15, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Mr. Lamontagne has taken the honorable path and conceded the race to Ayotte AND offered his full support to her in the upcoming November election. I wonder if the “appointed one” will finally do the same up in Alaska?

Gohawgs on September 15, 2010 at 8:11 PM

“BTW it’s going to be great to drive around without seeing all of those fricking BINNIE signs. Good riddance to that clown!” Del Dolemonte on September 15, 2010 at 12:36 PM

yes, definitely. we had binnie at the rockingham 912 group meeting and the vibe I got was pure snake-oil sleaze.

I think the margin (2,000 votes give or take) between lamontagne and ayotte might just put her on notice. “start acting like a washington person and you will be in trouble next time around.” at least, I can hope.

my issues with gregg..if something is BAD you should be against it. gregg should have opposed both supreme court picks purely on constitutional grounds. they both demonstrated a flawed view of the basic contract between us and the government. and even if they still got confirmed he would have at least voiced our concerns. but he didn’t.

I’m kind of shocked that the margin was so wide between stephen and kimball after that debate. all stephen could say is “hang on” and look nervous where kimball had a definite plan and came off very comfortable and confident.

well, I’ll put away my Kimball sign and maybe I can use it again in 2 years.

warhorse_03826 on September 15, 2010 at 10:27 PM

was it wrong to secretly hope that bender won..

just to convince him say “bite my shiny metal ass”?

(sorry, couldn’t help it)

warhorse_03826 on September 16, 2010 at 12:27 AM