General Kelly Ayotte's Pro Life Credentials | Kelly Ayotte Talks Medical Marijuana | The Largest Confiscations Of Private Property

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The winner will face U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes, a Democrat, in the general election.At midnight with 33 percent of the state's precincts counted, Ayotte led Lamontagne by roughly 200 votes.It was a race in which Lamontagne's conservative ideology and low-budget grassroots campaigning were pitted against establishment Republican ideas and millions of dollars poured into advertising by his opponents.Throughout the campaign, Lamontagne remained behind in the polls, with the gap closing days before the election. The conservative Lamontagne hoped for a repeat of 1996, when he upset Congressman Bill Zeliff to win the Republican nomination for governor.

Kim Desruisseaux, an operations manager from Bow, liked Lamontagne's record. "He's been a good Republican for many years," Desruisseaux said. "He always stood for the same principles, and he didn't get into mudslinging in the campaign."Overall, the candidates spent more than $9.5 million in a campaign marked by negative advertising. With the economic downturn weighing on voters' minds, the Republican candidates generally agreed on the major issues of cutting spending, lowering taxes and limiting the size of government. Candidates emphasized biographies and experiences, as much as issues.

In order to attend this event, and have the privilege of meeting with Kelly Ayotte, representatives for political action committees have been told they will have to pay at least $1,000. If they wish to be given a higher status of access, they can pay $2,000 for that. Other individuals will be allowed the privilege of being in the same room with Ayotte, perhaps speaking to a representative of the campaign, for $500.

Where will the money-for-access exchange take place? That’s not certain. Initial communications about the event don’t indicate the location. It’s a typical backroom meeting of the sort that Ayotte claims to be against. Will backroom deals be made in that backroom meeting? That’s hard to say for those of us who don’t have enough money to pay the high fee for attendance, but certainly Ayotte is not a U.S. senator yet. Perhaps there will only be backroom suggestions, listened to with special appreciation earned through generous donations.

The thinking this cycle is that if Gregg does what he says he will, it's an open seat. Rep. Paul Hodes, who beat Rep. Bass in CD 2 for his seat, announced his Senate candidacy within hours of Sen. Gregg's nomination as Commerce Secretary. Hodes has run an all-out frontal campaign since then. Problem for him is, NH voters tend to recoil at front-runners. (Quoting G.W. Bush after losing by 18 points to McCain in 2000: "NH has long been a bump in the road for front-runners.")So Hodes is not a slam dunk for Gregg's seat, if there is a good opponent. Absent Kelly Ayotte its hard to see Hodes not having an edge on the seat. With her, its hard to see her not having the edge she has crossover appeal and a large base.


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