You might not expect the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee to go around buying lottery tickets, but Sen. Judd Gregg is glad he did.
On a whim prompted by the frenzy over Wednesday's $340 million Powerball jackpot, the New Hampshire Republican bought a ticket that matched five of the six numbers in the Powerball game.
He collected a $853,492 check Thursday.
Gregg spent $20 on tickets this week at a Washington gas station, allowing the ticket machine to generate his numbers at random. As he was leaving, a clerk ran after him because he had left one of the tickets behind.
"She was a very pleasant young woman. She might have kept it and for all I know it might have been the winning ticket," Gregg said during a news conference conducted by telephone.
The lawmaker said he doesn't buy lottery tickets often but was intrigued by the publicity surrounding the huge jackpot. "Every American believes in good fortune and good luck and I'm no different," he said.
Gregg, 58, said he will donate part of his winnings to the Hugh Gregg Foundation, which supports New Hampshire charities and is named after Gregg's late father, a former governor of New Hampshire.
And the rest?
"Whatever my wife tells me to do with it?" he joked.
According to his latest financial disclosure form, Gregg has between $1.5 million and $6.2 million in stocks and other major investments.
The only jackpot-winning ticket was sold in Jacksonville, Ore. The holder of the ticket did not immediately step forward to claim the largest jackpot in Powerball history and the second-biggest in U.S. history.
Gregg's ticket was one of 49 that matched five of the six numbers.