In a just and equitable society, Sen. Judd Gregg would be the last person who should win the lottery.

But to heck with just and equitable. The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee -- a lawyer who lists between $2.5 million and $9 million in assets on his financial disclosure form -- added another 853,492 smackers yesterday thanks to a little friend called Powerball.

"I'm truly deserving," declared the New Hampshire Republican, who was one of 49 people across the country to win second place in a drawing Wednesday night. He collected his winnings yesterday at D.C.'s lottery claims center. "I feel this is the result of my ability and talent." He said this over the phone so it could not be determined whether his tongue was in his cheek.

Gregg, who buys lottery tickets "sporadically," purchased his winning ticket at the Citgo station on New York Avenue at Bladensburg Road NE (yeah, we know, we drive by there all the time, too).

The senator bought four sheets of tickets for $20 and, wouldn't you know it, left one of the sheets inside. The clerk was nice enough to bring the missing sheet to his car.

"For all I know, the winning ticket was on that sheet," Gregg said.

It raises the question of whether Gregg will reward the clerk for running after him.

"Well, she didn't run after me," Gregg clarified. "She just told me I forgot one of the sheets."

We'll take that as a no.

Gregg, 58, said he would give a portion of his winnings to the Hugh Gregg Foundation -- named for his father, the former governor -- which supports charities in New Hampshire.

Will he keep any for himself?

"Oh yes," he said. "The majority I will use personally."

Which, he said, translates to "whatever my wife wants to do with it."

Other questions for a senator who wins Powerball:

What did his Senate colleagues -- many of whom are also millionaires -- say to him yesterday?

"A lot of people seem to want loans," Gregg said, declining specificity. "Actually some of them want interest-free grants."

Does this make him feel kinship with Harriet Miers, who is a former chairman of the Texas Lottery Commission?

"Really, I hadn't heard that."

Now that he has, will Gregg be more likely to support the embattled Supreme Court nominee?

"Yes," he said. "She is a precursor to my good luck."

If only Gregg were a teensy bit luckier: He wound up with five winning numbers -- 7, 21, 43, 44 and 49 -- but not the Powerball number (29), which would have reaped him a share of the $340 million jackpot, won in Jacksonville, Ore. , by someone who has not stepped forward yet.

In other words, the gentleman from New Hampshire just missed winning some really serious scratch. Poor baby.

Sen. Judd Gregg pocketed $853,492.