The focus on the Democratic side of the upcoming U.S. Senate battle for Kelly Ayotte’s seat in 2016 has been almost exclusively on Gov. Maggie Hassan, but there’s another key player in the mix.
The New Hampshire Journal has learned that some leading Democrats for several days now have been encouraging Rep. Ann Kuster to consider running for the seat now held by Republican Ayotte, and Kuster is not telling them that such a scenario is out of the question.
Kuster, just off of an impressive reelection victory over conservative Republican challenger Marilinda Garcia, did not shut down speculation about a possible Senate run in a story in the Washington-based Roll Call website today.
The story noted: “When asked in the Capitol last week whether she was thinking about her options for 2016, including running for Senate, Kuster said, ‘Not yet,’ before dashing into an elevator.”
Kuster has shown an impressive ability to raise funds for her House races, raising and spending $3.6 million in the 2014 cycle.
The thinking among some Democrats is that with her national ties – she is an original supporter of President Barack Obama in New Hampshire — she has the ability to increase that total to the much higher level necessary for a Senate race.
Kuster’s name was first mentioned as a possible Senate candidate in the New Hampshire Journal’s Nov. 15 analysis of possible 2016 candidates for top offices. But the interest in a possible Kuster Senate candidacy has been building in recent days, with calls being made among party activists.
The interest in Kuster, who is viewed as more ideologically liberal than Hassan, could be fueled by excitement among more progressive Democrats about the possibility of a Sen. Elizabeth Warren presidential candidacy as an alternative to Hillary Clinton.