Kelly Ayotte was born and raised in Nashua, N.H., where she now resides. She earned a bachelor's in 1990 from Pennsylvania State University and a law degree in 1993 from Villanova University.
Ayotte clerked for a year for state Supreme Court Justice Sherman Horton, and then joined the law firm of McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton in Manchester, working there for four years.
She joined the state attorney general's office in 1998, serving as chief of the homicide unit. She left briefly in 2003 to work as legal counsel for Republican Gov. Craig Benson.
Ayotte then served as deputy attorney general. Benson appointed her attorney general in 2004 and Democratic Gov. John Lynch reappointed her when her term expired. She resigned in July 2009 to run for U.S. Senate.
She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010.
Ayotte and her husband, Joseph, have two children.
Kelly Ayotte was mentioned as a possible running mate in 2012 for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, but she was ultimately passed over in favor of Paul Ryan. Ayotte was a speaker at the August 2012 GOP convention and has made other appearances campaigning for Romney.
Ayotte, a freshman senator, is a fiscal and social conservative. She opposes gay marriage and abortion and pledges not to ask for special spending requests, known as earmarks.
Ayotte believes federal spending should be cut, and she has said she would ask federal agencies to propose 20 percent cuts to their budgets to start the discussion. She opposed the 2009 approximately $800 billion economic stimulus package.
She supports repealing the 2010 health care reform bill and argues the private sector should handle health care reforms and creating jobs — not government. She expressed disappointment in the June 2012 decision by the Supreme Court upholding the legislation.
"By imposing a coercive tax on the American people, the president's health care law represents an unprecedented federal overreach into individuals' personal lives," she said. "It fails to solve the fundamental problem with the nation's health care delivery system — the skyrocketing cost of care."
She supports extending the George W. Bush administration's tax cuts to all taxpayers, including the wealthy. She argues small business owners would be hurt without the extension, which would hurt job creation.
She says she would not raise the retirement age for Social Security for those near retirement, but would consider raising it for younger workers. She opposes reinstating the inheritance tax.
She would target jobs incentives universally — not specifically to any industry — including alternative energy jobs. She would leave sick leave policies to employers rather than impose guaranteed paid sick days.
During her 2010 campaign, Ayotte received the endorsement of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Committee Assignments: Armed Services; Budget; Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Small Business and Entrepreneurship
American Conservative Union Rating: 95
Americans for Democratic Action Rating: 10
Kelly Ayotte is not up for re-election in 2014.
(Last updated by The Associated Press on September 10, 2014.)