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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Kenda rules out run for governor

CONCORD – North Hampton businessman Steve Kenda ended his exploratory Republican bid for governor as quietly as he began it seven weeks ago.

In a three-paragraph statement, the 54-year-old self-made business success story said it was a race he couldn’t win.

“Realism is a leader’s most basic qualification, and with that in mind, I have explored a run for governor with no illusions about the cost, the odds, the goals and the rewards,” Kenda said. “As much as I want to help steer New Hampshire toward a brighter future, I have concluded that doing so this year would be unwise.”

Kenda made the rounds of GOP gatherings since confirming on Feb. 1 that he was giving a look at trying to replace Gov. John Lynch, a four-term Democrat who’s retiring in December.

Despite having some talented operatives around him, Kenda never put out a press release during this process, while the two declared GOP candidates – Ovide Lamontagne, of Manchester, and Kevin Smith, of Litchfield – peeled away prominent endorsements and lined up fundraising avenues.

Kenda said he isn’t going to endorse either of those candidates at this point.

Some observers are encouraging Derry television station owner Bill Binnie, of New Castle, a former U.S. Senate candidate, to consider a run.

This could make the GOP primary combative. In 2010, Smith tagged Binnie as a liberal while running Cornerstone Action. Smith accused Binnie of trying to buy the Senate seat.

The two Democrats seeking to replace Lynch as nominee are two former state senators: ex-Majority Leader Maggie Hassan, of Exeter, and Jackie Cilley, of Barrington.

Kenda said he would continue work on growing the firm he runs, HireAbility, and didn’t rule out a run for elective office in the future.

Kevin Landrigan can be reached at 321-7040 or Also, follow Landrigan on Twitter (@KLandrigan) and The Telegraph’s interactive live feed at