New Hampshire in 2010 is very much in play from Senate to dog-catcher, and that could present a challenge for Democrats in 2010 if other states follow suit — which they often do. I’m not saying 2010 could be Obama’s 2006, where that many seats go to the other party, but I am saying Democrats could lose enough important seats to tip the balance of power if they don’t see it coming. In 1982, Republicans lost 26 House seats after Reagan’s first two years as president, and in 1994, Democrats lost 54 House seats and 8 Senate seats after President Clinton’s first two years.
Yesterday, NBC’s Chuck Todd accurately reported on the move to draft New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte (Republican appointed by Democratic Governor John Lynch after Republican Gov. Craig Benson). Ayotte would be a dream candidate for the GOP in NH, which has seen every GOP seat since 2006 in play from Republican to Democrat (former Sen. Sununu now Sen. Shaheen, former Rep. Bradley now Rep. Shea-Porter, Former Rep. Bass now Rep. Rep. Paul Hodes.)
Another poignant issue: AG Kelly Ayotte has young children and huge popularity in the state. She won’t run if she doesn’t think she can win — and it increasingly looks like she may run.
Some facts about Kelly Ayotte:
Lincoln Police Chief Ted Smith, president of the N.H. Association of Chiefs of Police who previously served for 16 years with the Washington D.C., police, describes her as the “best attorney general I’ve ever seen.”
Ayotte’s first big murder prosecution was against two Vermont teenagers in the killing of Half and Suzanne Zantop, of Hanover. Both teens pleaded guilty, with Robert Tulloch agreeing to a life-without-parole sentence and James Parker agreeing to a minimum 25 years in prison. Ayotte’s handling of the plea, in which the killers were barred from profiting off their stories, won her a commendation from FBI director Robert Mueller.
Kelly Ayotte was named the Union Leader’s “Citizen of the Year” in 2008
Kelly Ayotte is the first female Attorney General in the history of New Hampshire.
Ayotte is a past recipient of the Robert E. Kirby Award presented by the New Hampshire Bar Foundation to an attorney 35 years or younger who demonstrates the traits of civility, courtesy, perspective and excellent advocacy. She was recognized by New Hampshire Magazine in 2004 as one of the State’s remarkable women and she was selected as one of the 40 leaders in New Hampshire under the age of 40, by the Manchester, N.H. Union Leader in 2002. Ayotte is a native of New Hampshire. She resides in Nashua, New Hampshire with her husband, Joseph Daley.
It looks to me like Attorney General Ayotte is the real deal and would be a favorite to win the U.S. Senate race in 2010 if she gets in. The GOP needs to recruit and groom more candidates with bipartisan credentials like Kelly Ayotte if they want to win back seats in Congress.