Committee. "That's totally out of step with where New Hampshire voters are today."
Sen. Kelly Ayotte's supporters were hoping she'd be preparing her new office on Capitol Hill.
Unscathed by her repeated criticism of President Barack Obama on the campaign trail, Ayotte has returned to her seat in the Senate with her national profile higher than ever.
In addition to campaigning for Romney, Ayotte joined McCain and Graham, her two colleagues on the Armed Services Committee, earlier this year on a tour through New Hampshire, Florida and other states to address the $500 billion in sequestration cuts threatening the military. And she joined the two Senators once again last week, demanding further investigation into the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi.
Nashua's Ayotte raised profile during presidential campaign
She was quickly named to the high profile Armed Services and Budget committees, among others. And within months, she began to take a lead role on both boards.
"That was a very different climate than we have now. People are looking for moderation in their elected officials," said Hodes, citing the Nov. 6 election.
Ayotte, though, doesn't want to dwell on what could have been or where her political stardom may take her.
Once she arrived in Washington, Ayotte found herself riding the fast track.
Throughout the last year, New Hampshire's junior senator was mentioned as a possible running mate for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and more recently as a possible attorney general candidate.
Ayotte campaigned vigorously for Romney, appeared on national news programs and earned a prime time slot at the Republican National Convention.
"Whether through her own efforts or the efforts of the Republican Party, Kelly Ayotte has adopted a particularly strident tone on a number of issues," he said, referring to her stance on abortion, women's access to contraception and equal pay, among others. "That may prove to be problematic for her when she comes up for re election."
From Concord to Washington, Ayotte's star has risen fast and bright.
Her campaign drew attention from across Babyliss Straightener Review
Despite the win, the election cost Ayotte some ground, according to some Democratic critics. During the election, Ayotte positioned herself far to the right on key social issues, including abortion, that could haunt her in future elections, opponents argued.
"She really has placed herself in the right wing of the Republican Party," said Kathy Sullivan, Chi Flat Iron Colors
New Hampshire Democratic leaders argue Ayotte's allegiance to Beats Executive Headphones outdated Republican values have put her in line with the Republican party's old guard, leaving her out of touch with voters.
"Obviously, it's humbling to be mentioned" for those positions, Ayotte said, "but my job is to represent the people of New Hampshire in the Senate. That's the job that I ran for. That's the job that I wanted."
The Nashua native's reluctance hasn't stopped other lawmakers and analysts from weighing in on her future as her star continues to rise in the Republican Party. Rep.
"Kelly Ayotte is tireless. She's relentless," said former New Hampshire Gov. Steve Merrill, who chaired Ayotte's campaign for Senate. "When she tried cases personally as attorney general, I thought she was exhibiting the kind of leadership that would put New Hampshire on the map."
Just last week, Politico, a national political publication, listed her among the possible 2016 Republican presidential challengers.
And earlier this month, Ayotte stood next to veteran Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham as the three targeted President Obama and the administration in a much publicized press conference regarding the embassy attack in Benghazi, Libya.
But supporters contend that Ayotte's youth, gender and emerging reputation in and out of the Senate will make her a factor on the national stage for years.
Two years ago, the Nashua native had never held elected office. She served five years as New Hampshire's attorney general, appointed by both Republican and Democratic governors. And over her tenure, she developed a reputation as an aggressive and hardworking prosecutor. Sen. Judd Gregg announced his intention to retire from Washington in 2010, Republican leaders quickly approached her about the position.
"Really, what drew me to that is my background as a prosecutor," she said. "I really want to get to the bottom of what happened. There is a whole list of questions I believe have to be answered."
In the Republican primary, Ayotte emerged from a crowded field, defeating businessman Bill Binnie and future gubernatorial challenger Ovide Lamontagne, among others, to earn the party nomination.
"She really is a rising star in the Republican Party," said McCain, the former presidential nominee who serves with Ayotte on the Senate Armed Services Committee. "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."
one of the state's representatives to the Democratic National Beats Solo 3 Wireless
"She had pretty broad appeal," said Andrew Smith, a professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire. "She was able to do what a lot of the Democratic women were able to do and pull votes from across party lines."
the country, enlisting support from Republican leaders such as Romney, Pennsylvania Sen. representative, by 23 percentage points.
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