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New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan announced she will challenge New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte in 2016

Hassan's decision marks a major pickup for Democrats looking to retake the Senate next year

Washington CNN  — 

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan announced Monday she will run against Sen. Kelly Ayotte, giving Democrats a potential boost as they attempt to retake the Senate next year.

Hassan cited her work freezing college tuition, the success of the New Hampshire economy and other measures from her two terms as governor as reason to send her to Washington.

“Now to continue working to realize our state’s potential, we need a response from Washington that meets the progress we’re making here at home, and that’s exactly why I’m running for the United States Senate,” Hassan said in a video posted Monday morning.

Manchester, New Hampshire, station WMUR first reported Hassan’s entry into the race.

Hassan marks a big-name pickup for Senate Democrats. The Rothenberg and Gonzales Political Report listed New Hampshire as “lean Republican” – just two steps away from a pure “toss-up” – in its latest ranking of Senate races.

New Hampshire Republicans quickly accused Hassan of “failing to lead,” in a statement sent Monday morning.

“She has failed to keep and grow jobs in New Hampshire, she has failed to respond adequately to the heroin epidemic and she has failed to work across party lines to do what’s right for Granite-Staters,” New Hampshire Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Horn.