What if he made Ayotte his running mate? A crucial 4 electoral votes.
by Joe Battenfeld
>>In his run for Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney picked an attractive, intelligent, 42-year-old mother of two with a background in criminal justice as his running mate. Now he should go back to the same playbook and pick Kelly Ayotte. Ayotte, the 43-year-old U.S. senator from New Hampshire, is a former attorney general who prosecuted some hideous murder cases. She comes from a crucial swing state, like Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, 40, only she is older and a lot more qualified than Rubio.
>> Ayotte also appears to be a lot smarter than Rubio or the rest of the cast of boring guys jostling to win the veepstakes. While Romney will be wrapping up his primary campaign in Manchester tonight, Ayotte will be back in the Senate wisely avoiding the embarrassing spectacle of a public audition.
>>This weekend, with vice presidential speculation at a fever pitch, Ayotte was at home playing with her two kids. Last night, she declined to talk to the Herald about the vice presidential speculation. An aide said she had a family engagement. Good answer.
Earlier in the day, she spoke to her hometown paper, the Nashua Telegraph, saying she wasnt paying too much attention to the pundits.
I couldnt get my kids to turn off the cartoons, she said. Another good answer.
Rubio, meanwhile, was stumbling, first saying he would turn down the No. 2 slot, then refusing to rule it out. Just what Romney needs, another flip-flopper.
>>And in case you hadnt heard, Romney hasnt endeared himself to many female voters. Choosing Ayotte would show that Romney is not the old-fashioned, dog-hating male chauvinist that Democrats have made him out to be.
In 2002, Romney picked a woman, Kerry Healey, as his lieutenant governor pick, and that race went pretty well. Healey also did not crash her state car in a mysterious 100-mile-an-hour accident.
>>Ayotte also would help Romney rally his support among social conservatives. She backs the death penalty and is against gay marriage and abortion, which isnt a popular stance in New Hampshire, but is a selling point in some parts of Ohio and Florida. Ayotte was endorsed by Sarah Palin in 2010, so conservatives will like that, too.
>>The pundits say Ayotte is a long shot, because she has been in the Senate for only two years and hails from a neighboring state of Romneys.
But the reality is that geographical balance is no longer important. U.S. Sen. John Kerry tried to balance his ticket with a southerner, John Edwards, in 2004. Howd that work out?
A) An all-New England ticket will have such great appeal to the rest of the country; and
B) The four electoral votes of NH are critical, even at the expense of double-digit EV states such as Florida.