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Mar 4, 2016 7:43 PM

NH Sen. Kelly Ayotte faces primary challenge from former GOP state senator

The Associated Press

CONCORD (AP) - Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte is facing a primary challenge in her re-election bid from Jim Rubens, a former state senator who unsuccessfully ran in the GOP primary against Scott Brown in 2014.

Rubens tells The Associated Press that the Republican base has "divorced" itself from Ayotte and that the GOP will not keep the Senate seat if she is the nominee. Two-term Gov. Maggie Hassan is running on the Democratic side.

Rubens says he has never seen such dissatisfaction with the Republican establishment, including Ayotte.

In response to Rubens' announcement, Ayotte's campaign says she has "deep grassroots support" and a "strong conservative record."

Rubens has run unsuccessfully for statewide office several times and received just over 20 percent of the vote in the 2014 GOP primary.

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