Dems attack Ayotte's decision to seek Senate seat

By John O'Brien | Jul 8, 2009


CONCORD, N.H. (Legal Newsline) - New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte is taking her share of hits from Democrats upset that she has decided to run for U.S. Senate next year.

Ayotte announced Tuesday that she would be stepping down as attorney general on July 17, only four months after Democratic Gov. John Lynch reappointed her to the position. With Republican Sen. Judd Gregg not seeking re-election next year, Ayotte said she heard plenty of calls to take his spot.

Lynch had little to say, only that he will move quickly to replace Ayotte. Reportedly, he nominated her in March with the understanding she would serve a full five-year term as attorney general.

"Kelly Ayotte made a pledge to serve out her term as attorney general and has now turned her back on her responsibilities. We now know that she is deserting the people of New Hampshire in favor of personal ambition," state Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said.

Buckley went on to invoke Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential nominee who announced her resignation as Alaska's governor on Monday. Palin said she was not seeking re-election and did not want to go through a "lame-duck" period in office.

"We're seeing a national trend where Republicans have abandoned their responsibilities to their constituents in favor of political gain. From Alaska to New Hampshire, Republicans just can't seem to honor their commitment to the public."

New Hampshire's Democrats will pit Paul Hodes, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, against the Republicans in 2010.

Democratic National Committee member and former state Chairman Kathy Sullivan also piled on, according to a report in the New Hampshire Union Leader.

"The attorney general never should have sought reappointment if she planned to run for office," she said in the report.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, however, was thrilled by Ayotte's decision, according to msnbc.

"Kelly Ayotte has been an effective Attorney General on behalf of the people of New Hampshire, and we are pleased that she is considering opportunities that many could not have anticipated even months ago," the committee said in the report.

"Clearly, Kelly Ayotte will be a formidable candidate for the U.S. Senate if she decides to run."

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at john@legalnewsline.com.

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