Lynch to name new Attorney General today

CONCORD — Gov. John Lynch will name a new attorney general later today to replace Kelly Ayotte of Nashua who leaves next week to likely embark on a U.S. Senate run in 2010.

The two leading contenders for the assignment both have served directly under Ayotte — Lynch Legal Counsel Michael Delaney and current Deputy AG Orville “Bud’’ Fitch.

The nomination will come to the Executive Council at its meeting next Wednesday.

Ayotte, a Republican, has remained the state’s top law enforcement position under governors from both parties and had also served as legal counsel to then-Republican Gov. Craig Benson.

Some liberal Democrats were upset when Lynch, a three-term Democrat, named Ayotte last April to another four-year term.

Ayotte announced Tuesday she was leaving because the office of the Attorney General should remain apolitical and it was right for her to step aside as she weighed a Senate campaign observers believe is inevitable.

Her last day as Attorney General is next Friday.