Ovide's Metamorphosis in New Hampshire

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In 1996, Ovide Lamontagne surged during the final three weeks of a competitive GOP gubernatorial primary and closed a huge gap, knocking off the establishment choice, Bill Zeliff. 


LaMontagne has been uncomfortably ensconced in third place in the race to get the GOP nod to succeed retiring Sen. Judd Gregg. Kelly Ayotte, recruited by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and William Binnie, a businessman. 

But this weekend, the New Hampshire Union Leader, still a powerhouse endorsement, lent its support to LaMontagne.  

Both frontrunners are trashing each other on television, and the Union Leader endorsement creates a path for LaMontagne to raise his profile significantly over the next two weeks.  The Union Leader has always endorsed to the tune of its own publisher, Joe McQuaid: their surprise pick of John McCain in 2008 helped him put the coup de grace on Mitt Romney. 

LaMontagne has a healthy number of outsider credentials, and he hasn't really been involved in politics since losing the 1996 gubernatorial race. If you're looking for the next (and final) upset of the primary season, look no further than the 52-year-old lawyer from Manchester who has deep ties to conservatives in the state, isn't a wing nut, and now has a powerful way to earn his media. 

The primary is 9/14.
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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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