The Campaign Spot

The New Hampshire GOP Field Is Strong, but Take Nothing for Granite

The New Hampshire Senate race is one that made a lot of noise early in the cycle, and has slid back out of the headlines as Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Nevada, Ohio, Florida, and other states have generated more fireworks.

Republicans have a surplus of good choices here. Early on, there were some conservative worries that frontrunner Kelly Ayotte, a popular state attorney general for five years, might be a bit less socially conservative than some Republican grassroots would prefer; a lack of a voting record in a legislature and fans in Washington are potential points of concern in a year like this. But it’s hard to argue that a Sarah Palin–backed candidate is some sort of closet liberal.

I had a chance to meet Ovide Lamontagne* a few months ago, and it’s easy to make the case that he’s the near-dream candidate for conservatives. “Toomeyesque” comes to mind.

But when you look at the other options, you begin to wish the ballot was a buffet instead of a menu, and you could order a bit from this one and a bit from that one. Bill Binnie’s business experience, Lamontagne’s encyclopedic knowledge of conservative policy ideas, Ayotte’s sterling record as a prosecutor kicking tail on crime and corruption, and Jim Bender’s life story of an inspiring rise from modest means.

The Susan B. Anthony list, a pro-life women’s group, is backing Ayotte, and putting their money where their mouth is

Today, the Susan B. Anthony List announced the launch of a $150,000 independent expenditure campaign highlighting the pro-life leadership of Kelly Ayotte, endorsed Republican primary candidate for the U.S. Senate in New Hampshire. The SBA List campaign includes $50,000 in radio ads, $50,000 in Google web ads and $50,000 in voter mobilization efforts leading up to the Tuesday, September 14th  primary.

“Kelly Ayotte’s heroic efforts at the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of 37 parental involvement laws on the books across the nation that help protect children from abortion,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said.  “She showed courageous leadership when she stood up for New Hampshire parents and fought to protect young girls from abortion despite facing a hostile environment fueled by a Democratic governor and unfriendly state legislature.”

“Ayotte made a judgment call that potentially saved New Hampshire taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars by complying with a court order to pay the legal fees of Planned Parenthood,” Dannenfelser said referencing a court-ordered settlement to refund the legal fees of Planned Parenthood following a repeal of the parental notification law by the state legislature. “Had Ayotte appealed, it is likely that the higher court would have ruled against her, resulting in taxpayer dollars going to pay even more Planned Parenthood legal fees.”

The primary winner will have a good chance in November, with Democrat Paul Hodes trailing just about everybody, and swimming against a strong anti-Obama tide in the Granite State.

Hodes, who voted for the stimulus, is now running an ad declaring, “I approve this message because you deserve a senator who’s a real fiscal conservative — and who gets rid of the pork.”

* UPDATE: Did I write “Ovide LeMontagne” before? Yes, but that’s what his friends call him.

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