Kelly's Metamorphoses
11-09-2009
It is certainly possible that Ovide Lamontagne’s entrance into the Republican race for the U.S. Senate will force former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte to engage in a little more position-taking than we have seen from her thus far. Primaries are in part about drawing distinctions between candidates, especially when the field gets crowded. Position-taking is one way of accomplishing this, so we may well see more of it mixed in with the relentless Democrat-bashing that will no doubt comprise a good deal of the Republican primary discourse.
 
But in a contest where the candidates will all talk endlessly about their bona fides as fiscal conservatives, position-taking has some real limitations, which is why a candidate like Ayotte is even more likely to focus on her viability in the general election. Republican primary voters will be reminded that Lamontagne lost both of his earlier electoral contests, and that Ayotte is already performing favorably against Democratic Congressman Paul Hodes in early trial heats.
 
While the Republican primary discourse will be dominated by conservative themes, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ayotte hedge a bit when possible, in order to preserve her appeal to independents, which is a key ingredient for general election viability.
 
Note: For the Roman poetry fans among my readers, I am aware that Ovid (or Ovidius) had no "e" on the end of his name, but close enough for a passing reference in a post title!


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