Senator (Class 3)
ends in 2017
Kelly A. Ayotte (/ˈeɪɒt/ ay-ot; born June 27, 1968) is an American politician and the junior United States senator from New Hampshire, serving since 2011. She is a member of the Republican Party and as of 2013 is the only Republican in New Hampshire’s four-member congressional delegation.
Born in Nashua, New Hampshire, Ayotte is a graduate from Pennsylvania State University and Villanova University School of Law. She worked as a law clerk for the New Hampshire Supreme Court before entering private practice. She also worked as a prosecutor for the New Hampshire Department of Justice, and briefly served as the legal counsel to New Hampshire governor Craig Benson, before returning to the Department of Justice to serve as deputy attorney general of New Hampshire. In June 2004, Governor Benson appointed Ayotte as attorney general of New Hampshire, after the resignation of Peter Heed. She became New Hampshire’s first woman attorney general, serving from 2004 to 2009, after she was twice reappointed by Democratic governor John Lynch. In July 2009, Ayotte resigned as attorney general to pursue a bid for the U.S. Senate, after three term incumbent Judd Gregg announced his retirement from the Senate.
In September 2010, Ayotte won a close victory over lawyer Ovide M. Lamontagne, in the Republican primary. She then defeated Democratic congressman Paul Hodes, with 60% of the vote in the general election, and was later sworn into the U.S. Senate as a member of the 112th Congress, on January 3, 2011. Ayotte was mentioned as a possible running mate for Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.