Democrats have largely been sidelined while Lynch mulled another campaign, but sources say former state Sen. Maggie Hassan and former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand are likely to join the race. Mark Connolly, who served as head of the state's Securities Regulation panel, and current Portsmouth Mayor Tom Ferrini have also held conversations with prominent Democrats about getting in the race. Former state Sen. Jackie Cilley (D) is likely to run with backing from the labor community.
Lynch won his first election in 2004, defeating incumbent Gov. Craig Benson (R) by a narrow margin. He won re-election in 2006 and 2008 by huge margins (New Hampshire and Vermont are the only two states that hold gubernatorial elections every two years), and he was one of the few New Hampshire Democrats to survive a Republican tidal wave in 2010.
Lynch's decision not to try for another term means this will be the first election cycle since 1996 that neither Lynch nor Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) will be on the ballot. Shaheen won three terms as governor, then lost a 2002 Senate bid to John E. Sununu.