The state certified Ayotte as the winner, AP said. Ayotte had 38 percent of the vote with 90 percent of precincts reporting, topping Tea Party-backed candidate Ovide Lamontagne, who had 37 percent in the seven-person race, according to AP.
Ayotte, 42, was New Hampshire’s first female attorney general, serving from 2004 to 2009, when she stepped down to run for the seat held by Gregg, a Republican. She was appointed by a Republican governor and twice reappointed by a Democratic governor. She will face Democratic U.S. Representative Paul Hodes, who ran unopposed in the primaries, in the general election.
Ayotte was endorsed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
Lamontagne has until 5 p.m. today to decide whether he will seek a recount because the margin of victory fell within 1.5 percent of the total votes cast, AP said.