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Kelly Ayotte election: a relief to mainstream Republicans

The nomination of Kelly Ayotte for a US Senate seat from New Hampshire is good news for the Republican Party establishment, given these 'tea party' times.

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Kelly Ayotte sits in a hotel room with her husband, Joe Daley, after learning she won the Republican nomination for US Senate in Concord, N.H., Wednesday. In November, she faces US Rep. Paul Hodes (D).

Jim Cole/AP

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The Republican nomination of Kelly Ayotte for a US Senate seat from New Hampshire is good news – and a source of relief given these "tea party" times –for the establishment GOP.

In a Granite State squeaker, the former state attorney general beat opponent Ovide Lamontagne by 1,667 votes – close enough so that the Manchester attorney had a day to decide whether to ask for a recount.

Ms. Ayotte had the backing of the state GOP and incumbent US Sen. Judd Gregg, who is retiring. Mr. Lamontagne was preferred by many in the tea party movement, including conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R) of South Carolina. He also had the endorsement of New Hampshire’s major newspaper, the Union Leader.

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