Former Republican senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire does not plan to run for any office in 2022, dashing hopes that she would challenge incumbent Democratic senator Maggie Hassan, according to a new report.
Sources close to Ayotte told WMUR 9 that she “will NOT be a candidate for any office in 2022.”
BREAKING: Sources close to former Sen @KellyAyotte tell @WMUR9 she “will NOT be a candidate for any office in 2022….” Ayotte “thankful” @ChrisSununu ChrisSununu “will continue his service to our state.” #nhsen #NHgov #NHPolitics #WMUR
— John DiStaso (@jdistaso) November 9, 2021
The news comes the same day as New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu’s announcement that he’d be running for a fourth term as governor, despite many Republicans’ belief that Sununu would stand the best chance of beating Hassan.
Ayotte had privately expressed interest in running for governor if Sununu didn’t seek reelection, according to the Associated Press. After the initial reports of Ayotte’s decision broke, she released the following statement:
“Governor Sununu has done a tremendous job in office and I am so thankful he will continue his service to our state and continue to fight for all Granite Staters. As for Joe and I, we will continue to focus on our family, professional careers, and electing Republicans here at home.”
Hassan beat then-Senator Ayotte in 2016 by 1,000 votes.
Scott Brown, the former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts who ran an unsuccessful bid for the Senate in New Hampshire in 2014 is not running either, according to Politico‘s Stephanie Murray. Some Republicans have expressed hopes that GOP congressional candidate Matt Mowers will run for Senate instead, Murray reports.
At least two other Republicans have already entered the Senate race in New Hampshire: retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Don Bolduc and Tejasinha Sivalingam. Bolduc unsuccessfully sought the nomination to challenge Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.) in 2020, while Sivalingam ran an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the state legislature in 2018.
Other prospective candidates include state senate president Chuck Morse and Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut.
Polling showed Sununu with a three point lead over Hassan in a hypothetical matchup between the two, while Hassan held a one point lead over Ayotte and a five point advantage over Bolduc.
Ousting Hassan is a key element of the GOP’s electoral math in 2022, when it will try to retake the upper chamber of Congress after two years in the minority.