Kelly A. Ayotte (born June 27, 1968) is the junior United States Senator from New Hampshire and a member of the Republican Party. She earlier served as the Attorney General of New Hampshire.
Kelly Ayotte was born in Nashua, New Hampshire on June 27, 1968. She attended Nashua High School. She received a B.A. from Pennsylvania State University majoring in political science.
In 1993, Ayotte graduated from Villanova University School of Law, where she had served as Editor of the Environmental Law Journal.Ayotte clerked for Sherman D. Horton Associate Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, for one year. From 1994 to 1998, she was an associate at the Manchester law firm of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton.In 1998, she joined the office of the New Hampshire Attorney General as a prosecutor. In 2003, Ayotte became legal counsel to Governor Craig Benson. She returned to the Attorney General's office three months later, becoming Deputy Attorney General.In June 2004, Ayotte was appointed Attorney General of the State of New Hampshire by Governor Craig Benson following Peter Heed's resignation as Attorney General amid allegations that he had sexually harassed a female state employee.
New Hampshire Attorney General
In 2003, the Federal District Court for the District of New Hampshire found the New Hampshire law requiring parental notification of a minor's abortion, the Parental Notification Prior to Abortion Act, unconstitutional and enjoined its enforcement.
In 2004, New Hampshire Attorney General Peter Heed appealed this ruling to the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's ruling. In 2004, Ayotte, having replaced Heed as New Hampshire Attorney General, appealed the Appeals Court's ruling to the Supreme Court, over the objection of incoming Democratic governor John Lynch. Ayotte personally argued the case before the Supreme Court. Governor John Lynch, upon assuming office as governor, submitted an ''amicus curiae'' brief in opposition to the Parental Notification Prior to Abortion Act.
Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Judd Gregg decided to retire, instead of seeking re-election in the 2010 senate election in New Hampshire. Ayotte resigned as Attorney General on July 7, 2009 to explore a run for U.S. Senate in 2010. Ayotte was recruited by the National Republican Party (National Republican Senatorial Committee) in Washington to enter the race.
On September 14, 2010, Ayotte defeated lawyer Ovide Lamontagne, businessman Bill Binnie and Jim Bender in the Republican Senate primary. In the general election, Ayotte ran against Democratic nominee U.S. Representative Paul Hodes, Libertarian nominee Ken Blevens, and Independent Chris Booth.
May 30th, 2011