Ayotte In NH With Slight Lead In GOP Senate Race : It's All Politics Kelly Ayotte, backed by Sarah Palin and the Republican establishment, had a tiny lead in the race for the New Hampshire Senate GOP nomination. She led Ovide Lamontagne, the Tea Party favorite.
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Ayotte In NH With Slight Lead In GOP Senate Race

Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Kelly Ayotte and husband Joe Daley, Concord, N.H., Tuesday, Sept. 14,2010. Jim Cole/Associated Press hide caption

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Jim Cole/Associated Press

Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire's former attorney general, and the choice of both Sarah Palin and the Republican establishment to fill a soon to be vacant Senate seat, has a narrow lead over the Tea Party's preferred candidate, Republican activist Ovide Lamontagne.

The Associated Press reported that Ayotte, called "the Granite Grizzly" by Palin, had a 1,000 vote lead with 85 percent of the vote counted.

After trailing in the early count through much of Tuesday evening, Ayotte went ahead late Tuesday and has held her lead. But her lead is so narrow that a recount looks highly likely.

If Ayotte should go on to win, it would be another victory for Palin who has backed a number of successful Republican candidates this year. It would be interpreted as a setback for Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) who is seen as the Capitol Hill lawmaker most plugged into the Tea Party movement.