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 AyotteKelly AyotteGOP senator: Block cash payments to state terror sponsors The Trail 2016: Just a little kick Abortion rights group ads tie vulnerable GOP senators to Trump MORE (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 GillibrandKirsten GillibrandPentagon pushes back on criticism of handling of sexual assault cases June primary fights set stage for Dems’ hopes to take over House Clinton releases plan for military families MORE (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Moore CapitoOvernight Tech: TV box plan faces crucial vote | Trump transition team to meet tech groups | Growing scrutiny of Yahoo security Senate committee to consider miner pension bill GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase MORE (R-W.Va.), and captaining the congressional women’s softball team.
Though her colleagues Sens. Rob PortmanRob PortmanOvernight Healthcare: Watchdog says ObamaCare program made illegal payments Portman ad features father of fallen Iraq soldier Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables MORE (R-Ohio) and Marco RubioMarco RubioWar over the estate tax returns Clinton’s strategy: Get under Trump’s skin Rubio, Heck help out at car crash scene MORE (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 BidenJoe BidenTechnology can be used to bridge the gap between doctor’s visits Top Dem: Cures bill funding cut to B Yes, this election will change America forever MORE 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