Kelly Ayotte Announces Candidacy for New Hampshire Governor, Setting Up Primary Battle Against Chuck Morse
Former Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte revealed her intention to run for governor in New Hampshire on Monday morning.
The announcement paves the way for a primary contest between Ayotte, a former U.S. senator and state attorney general, and Chuck Morse, a former Republican state Senate president.
Ayotte cited concerns over the state potentially mirroring neighboring Massachusetts as her reason for running.
She had previously served one term in the Senate but narrowly lost her last election by a slim margin of just over a thousand votes out of more than 738,000 cast. Despite the option for a recount, Ayotte graciously conceded the election within a day.
Following her Senate tenure, Ayotte has kept a relatively low profile in New Hampshire politics, contributing financial support to the state’s Republican party while serving on various corporate boards, including News Corp. and Caterpillar.
Her chief opponent, Chuck Morse, faced a loss in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in 2022, where he encountered a candidate who gained traction by aligning with pro-Trump policies, contrasting Morse’s more moderate approach.
Ayotte, who has been perceived as a moderate, faced challenges regarding her stance on Trump and his role within the party.
Her ambiguous response during a televised debate, initially expressing Trump as a role model for children but quickly retracting the statement, became a focal point during her 2016 Senate campaign.
She later declared she would not vote for Trump, which some political observers saw as detrimental to her campaign.
Throughout Trump’s presidency, Ayotte remained relatively silent on his administration, dedicating her focus to her corporate board responsibilities and refraining from significant public statements regarding his presidency.
I am running for Governor because I fear that we are one election away from turning into Massachusetts. Together, we will ensure that we keep New Hampshire safe, prosperous and free. #nhpolitics #nhgov pic.twitter.com/EIngXiQ0wF
— Kelly Ayotte (@KellyAyotte) July 24, 2023