Kelly Ann Ayotte was born June 27, 1968 and is an American politician and the junior United States Senator from New Hampshire, serving since 2011. A member of the Republican Party, she is the second youngest of the 20 female Senators, and the twelfth-youngest overall.
Born in Nashua, New Hampshire, Ayotte is a graduate of 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 female 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 for the U.S. Senate. 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. An August 2013 cover story by Newsmax magazine named Ayotte No. 1 among the 25 most influential women in the GOP, calling her “an emerging force in Congress.” Ayotte is up for reelection this year and declined to make comment on her decision to not sign.