September 15th, 2010
03:54 PM ET

Ayotte carves out narrow victory in New Hampshire

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/09/15/new.hampshire.senate.primary/story.kelly.ayotte.wmur.jpg caption="Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin backs Ayotte, calling her a 'Granite Grizzly.'" width=300 height=169]

Paul Steinhauser
CNN Deputy Political Director

(CNN) - Former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte has squeezed out a narrow GOP Senate primary win over conservative challenger Ovide Lamontagne, the New Hampshire secretary of state's office declared Wednesday.

Ayotte, the favorite among establishment Republicans, held less than a 1,000-vote lead over Lamontagne, a Manchester attorney and the 1996 Republican nominee for governor, with 85 percent of precincts counted, AP reported. The difference is less than 1 percent of the vote.

The New Hampshire race didn't grab the national spotlight like the Republican Senate primary in Delaware - where the more conservative challenger won - but shared a similar storyline.

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