Charles Dharapak/AP Photo
Kelly Ayotte is the junior senator from New Hampshire, one of only four female Republicans in the U.S. Senate. Like McMorris Rodgers, she is the mother of two and is married to a veteran; her husband runs a small business, which she helped launch before being elected. Running for Senate in 2010 was the first time she’d ever run for office; previously, she was appointed Attorney General of New Hampshire by a Republican governor, then reappointed twice by a Democrat. She comes across as smart and courteous but no-nonsense. Because Ayotte is on the Senate Armed Services, Budget, Commerce, and Small Business Committees, she’ll have her hands in just about every major issue Republicans will be facing this year. She’s been front and center on the administration’s botched handling of the murder of our ambassador in Benghazi. “She really is a rising star in the Republican Party,” Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain told the Telegraph of Nashua, N.H. “I can see her being very seriously considered for both vice president, and certainly over time, for the presidential nomination. … Her rise in the Senate is probably the most impressive I’ve seen.” Ayotte has said she’s not interested in higher office, but there’s good news: Her 8-year-old daughter Kate wants to be the first female president.
Next: Nikki Haley