Former Republican Sen. John Sununu has announced that he will not seek a return to the Senate from New Hampshire in 2010.
Sununu was first elected to the Senate in 2002, but he lost to Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, a former New Hampshire governor, in 2008. He had "the right of first refusal" to gain the GOP nomination to replace Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, who is retiring next year, according to The Hill newspaper.
Sununu's decision not to seek the nomination clears a path for several other Republicans, including New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, former Rep. Charlie Bass, and businessman Fred Tausch.
Tausch has already hired former Sununu staffers and launched an ad campaign criticizing Congress' fiscal policies, The Hill reported.
Rep. Paul Hodes is the only Democrat to announce his candidacy for the Senate seat next year.
Sen. Gregg opted not to seek re-election after he was nominated by President Obama to the Commerce Secretary post but withdrew his name due to differences with the Obama administration.
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