CNN Deputy Political Director
(CNN) - It may not be grabbing the national spotlight like the Republican Senate primary in Delaware, but the GOP Senate primary in New Hampshire shares a similar storyline: A hard-charging conservative candidate threatening to upset the candidate favored by establishment Republicans.
Kelly Ayotte, the state's former attorney general, stepped down to run for the Senate nomination after being encouraged to run for the open seat by national Republicans. For months, polls suggested that Ayotte was the frontrunner in the seven-candidate contest, which also includes businessmen Bill Binnie and Jim Bender. But recent surveys in the Granite State indicate that Ovide Lamontagne, a Manchester attorney and the 1996 Republican nominee for governor, has narrowed the gap with Ayotte.
Local Tea Party groups, the conservative New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper and influential conservative Sen. Jim DeMint have all backed Lamontagne. The Union Leader, the state's largest paper, has also been critical of Ayotte.
But the biggest difference with the Delaware race is that Sarah Palin is endorsing the more conservative Christine O'Donnell there. In New Hampshire, the former Alaska governor is backing Ayotte.
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