NPR logo Kelly Ayotte Wins NH GOP Senate Nod

Election 2010

Kelly Ayotte Wins NH GOP Senate Nod

It's bingo! for Kelly Ayotte, declared the winner of the New Hampshire GOP Senate primary. Jim Cole/Associated Press hide caption

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Jim Cole/Associated Press

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.