First off, let's throw some credit to James Pindell, who to my knowledge was the first to suggest, a few days ago, that NH Gov. Lynch would select a Republican successor, thus clearing the way for Senator Judd Gregg to accept an appointment as Obama's Commerce Secretary.
Now that Gregg has been named, reports say that Lynch will nominate Lawrence's own J. Bonnie Newman, a Republican with a distinguished career primarily in higher education.
She's over 60, and my guess is that she's told Lynch she's not interested in running in 2010 and will just serve the two-year interim.
Unsurprisingly, NH Congressman Paul Hodes is reportedly set to announce he'll run for the Senate seat in '10, which I'm pretty confident he was going to do anyway. (In fact, I've suspected that Gregg would not even run for re-election.)
Hodes may well be challenged in the primary, but I would think he'll be the strong favorite to win the Democratic nomination, and the general. It'll be interesting what happens on the Republican side, where success has been slim and none lately. (Notwithstanding Bruce's comment to a previous post; when your state party candidates lose the Presidential, Senate, both US House seats, and majority of both the state senate and house, it's hard to put a good face on it.)
There is a Granite State Republican considering running for US Senate -- but not in New Hampshire. The indispensible John DiStaso reports that former NH Senator Bob Smith is thinking of running in Florida.
Newman would restore the GOP to having five women in the US Senate, making up for the Libby Dole loss in November. That would return to four if Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas resigns as her gubernatorial race heats up -- or, of course, if she wins that race.
As things stand now, once Hutchison is gone the only female GOP Senators will be from cold, sparsely populated places off in the desolate corners of the country: Murkowski of Alaska, Snowe and Collins of Maine -- and perhaps now Newman of New Hampshire, at least for a couple of years.