July 7th, 2009
01:36 PM ET
13 years ago

First female NH AG resigns for possible Senate run

(CNN) - The first woman to serve as New Hampshire attorney general announced Tuesday that she's stepping down in order to explore a run for the U.S. Senate.

"Recently, many New Hampshire citizens have urged me to run for United States Senate," Republican Kelly Ayotte said in a statement. "I appreciate their confidence in me. After discussing this matter with my husband, Joe, and our family, I have decided to resign as Attorney General in order to explore a campaign for the United States Senate."

Ayotte has served as New Hampshire's attorney general for five years. She was first appointed to the post by Republican Gov. Craig Benson, and later re-appointed by Democrat and current Gov. John Lynch.

The seat she may run for is currently held by Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, who is not running for re-election next year. Last week, former Republican Sen. John Sununu announced he would not run for Gregg's seat.

Ayotte says her resignation takes effect on Friday July 17, and that she'll discuss her future political plans after she leaves the Attorney General's office.

"Kelly Ayotte has been an effective Attorney General on behalf of the people of New Hampshire, and we are pleased that she is considering opportunities that many could not have anticipated even months ago. Clearly Kelly Ayotte will be a formidable candidate for the U.S. Senate if she decides to run," said Amber Wilkerson, spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

According to a University of New Hampshire Granite State poll conducted over the past two weeks, 45 percent of voters in the state have a favorable view of Ayotte, with 8 percent holding an unfavorable opinion, and four out of 10 unsure. The same survey suggests that in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup with a probable Democratic candidate, Rep. Paul Hodes, Ayotte leads 39 percent to 35 percent - which is within the poll's 4.4 percent samping error - with 24 percent unsure.

Filed under: New Hampshire
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Flex

    Good luck Paul Hodes!

    July 7, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  2. Biased

    I bet she doesn't get ridiculed as a "quitter" since she is leaving her post early.

    July 7, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. katiec

    Another republican quitting!!

    July 7, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. IndyVoter

    What's up with all of these Republican women resigning from their positions prematurely, trying to be the next Hillary?.....Try as you may, you do not fool the American public. Just because you are women does not mean that you have the general American public 's best interest at heart.

    July 7, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. No Incumbents 2010

    Ayotte and Palin have a lot in common:
    Quit the term you are serving for political reasons, i.e. because there is another job you want even more. Quit before you have finished the job you are currently doing.
    America loves quitters.

    July 7, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. Willy Brown

    Quitter, can’t hack it, loser. Oh she’s a democrat? Good job, atta girl it’s ok to quit.

    July 7, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. Hoping for an intelligent female GOP candidate

    Ayette is not serving a "term." She was appointed and served 5 years. This is no different than giving your employer notice because you found a job elsewhere. The PEOPLE did not elect Ayette as Palin was elected. Get the difference now??????

    July 7, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. Steve

    Ayotte and Palin have nothing in common....Leaving your current job to run for higher office does not equal leaving your job to pad your pockets,,,,,,,

    July 7, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. NY republican

    That's right katiec – just like my former senator, Ms. Secretary Clinton. How quickly Democrats forget 🙂

    July 7, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. Illinois

    Yeah! And what's with that Senator (from my State) who went around campaigning for over a year on the State's money? The one who didn't do anything as Senator because he was busy running for President. You know....what's his name.

    July 7, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. Havoc

    Willy Brown, read the article, she's a Republican.

    July 7, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. grannyc

    Kelly Ayotte has served the people of NH well. It looks like she wants to continue her service to the citizens of the great state of NH on a different level. Good Luck !

    Unless you live in NH quit criticizing someone you know nothing about.

    July 7, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. Kevin in Ohio

    Interesting....democrats hang on to their jobs while they are running for higher office (i.e. Obama, Kerry, and also Biden who ran for re-election as Senator at the same time he ran for VP). Republicans like Dole, Ayotte, and, yes, Sarah Palin, recognize that it is an injustice to remain in a position doing nothing but campaigning. Who are the power-hungry ones????? Hmmmmm.....

    July 7, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. Former Republican Never Again

    Ayotte has no prior experience in elective office?
    I guess the U.S. Senate is an entry-level position in politics if you have the right connections and super-wealthy supporters.
    Unless you live in NH you have no right to express your opinion about who serves in the Senate? Last time I checked, I was still an American with a right of free speech. Will Ayotte take out-of-state contributions??? You betcha.

    July 7, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. Emma

    Kelly Ayotte: I do not agree with a great deal of the Republican ideology but you present yourself as above board, clear and upfront with your goals and communication. We do not see that in some politicians.

    July 7, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. nom deplume

    I used to live and practice law in NH and am well acquainted with Kelly Ayotte's reputation.

    She is not some pretty girl in a business suit, flacking for her governor like some other AG I know. She is well-respected across both sides of the aisle, and has the gravitas to hold any position in the state or in federal office. I sure as heck would not want to run against her on resume and reputation.

    July 7, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. Dan

    There is a big difference between Ayette and Palin. First of all, Ayette was appointed, not elected by the people. Second of all, she is leaving her position to run for higher office. I saw Palin's resignation speech, and I still have no idea what she was talking about. The way she rambled thru that speech, at warp speed, would lead one to think that maybe she had sampled some of Wasilla's biggest export.

    July 7, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  18. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    @No Incumbents 2010, I suppose it's OK that Obama quit the Senate before his term was up, as well as spending 2 of the 4 years he did serve doing nothing but campaigning. How about Neoplolano quitting as governor to take a cabinet post, or Hillary quiting as Senator to be SOS. Oh, those are OK? Double standards strike again.

    July 7, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |