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Newman Will Take Gregg's Senate Seat

New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch is set to announce this afternoon that Republican Bonnie Newman will fill the Senate seat being vacated by Judd Gregg, whom President Obama nominated today for Commerce Secretary. The news was first reported by Politico.

Newman served as Gregg's chief-of-staff during his House days in the 1980s, and also held roles in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. She recently served as interim president at the University of New Hampshire, and now appears likely to serve as just the interim senator. Newman is not expected to run for the seat in 2010, leaving the already-vulnerable seat open.

After electoral gains in the state in recent years, Democrats had placed a bull's eye on Gregg's seat. Democrats won the state in the last two presidential contests, they took over the two House seats in 2006, and Jeanne Shaheen won the other Senate seat in 2008. Not having to run against an incumbent makes it all the more desirable, and one Democrat appears to have already stepped forward.

Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) will likely announce his candidacy this week, the Manchester Union Leader reports.