By The Hill Staff - 07/25/12 09:00 AM EDT
Hometown: Nashua, N.H.
Political party: Republican
Relationship status: Married
Her last name might be a tongue-twister, but Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H., and AY-ott) could become a household figure by the end of the year, what with all the swirling vice-presidential speculation.
Like the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate (remember when no one knew how to pronounce Palin?), Ayotte is a young mom who’s relatively new to the national political scene. But the similarities end there. In her first two years in Congress, she has kept her head down and sought out bipartisan and bicameral allies, joining a weekly running group with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and captaining the congressional women’s softball team.
Though her colleagues Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have dominated the veep buzz, Ayotte has a few crown jewels of her own, having gained firsthand experience in small business as she helped her husband, Joe, start a landscaping and snow-removal company, and also serving as her state’s first female attorney general.
Though it’s anyone’s guess whom presumptive Republican candidate Mitt Romney will tap to be his No. 2, Ayotte isn’t ruling out the possibility. She told the Boston Herald that she looks forward to debating Vice President Biden, if chosen.
“Certainly, debating Joe Biden would be quite enjoyable,” she told the newspaper this spring. “Let’s face it, he has got a very different vision of this country than I do.”
Ayotte declined to participate in an interview for this feature.
— Kris Kitto