New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch announced Thursday that he will not run for re-election, leaving a wide-open race that will draw contenders on both sides of the aisle.
Lynch has served an unprecedented four terms as governor, but opted not to run for a fifth.
“I will keep working hard every day for the next 16 months to serve the people of our great state, but I will not run for re-election as governor of the state of New Hampshire,” Lynch said in a press conference, WMUR reports.
Lynch was one of the most popular New Hampshire governors in history, and was one of the few Democrats who survived the 2010 election in which large swathes of Democrats were voted out. Had he opted to run for re-election, his opponent would have faced an uphill battle to beat him.
New Hampshire governors serve two year terms, yet the office has been open just three times in the last 20 years, and sources say that anyone who even thinks they have a shot will run, since it is unknown when the seat will open again.
On the Republican side, sources say likely contenders include Manchester attorney Ovide Lamontagne and conservative activist Kevin Smith, as well as popular Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas. Lamontagne was expected to enter the race regardless of whether Lynch ran for re-election.
For the Democrats, the name most often floated is former State Senate Majority Leader Maggie Hassan. James Pindell at WMUR Political Scoop says Steve Marchand, the former Mayor of Portsmouth, and former State Sen. Jackie Cilley are also on that list.