Concord, N.H. – As Kelly Ayotte continues her aggressive political travel schedule, WMUR reports that analysts view her upcoming trip to address a “Who’s Who” of Republican political insiders as a key component of her efforts to position herself for a VP nomination.
Dean Spiliotes, however, pointed out that Ayotte’s strategy could backfire in New Hampshire, noting, “if she begins to look like she is lobbying to be vice president, it could be a problem.”
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Mitt Romney’s annual “Experts and Enthusiasts” summit often features some of the hottest names in politics and the business community as speakers, and some of the Republican Party’s biggest and most influential donors as guests.
Among 19 speakers listed on the invitation to this year’s event, scheduled for June 11-13, are six announced or potential GOP presidential candidates, as well as former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, former Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers, former National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern – and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte.
Ayotte, in fact, will be the only senator who is not running for president to address the high-powered group. Her appearance at the event, Republican and nonpartisan analysts say, boosts Ayotte’s already rising national profile.
“This is a big deal for her,” veteran Republican strategist and longtime Romney supporter Tom Rath said Friday. “This is a way to get noticed.”
“E2,” as it is known, is being organized by Romney himself and a private equity firm run by his son, Tagg, and his longtime adviser, Spencer Zwick. Now in its fourth year, E2 has been a veritable “Who’s Who” of Republican political insiders...
For Ayotte, already viewed as a rising star in the GOP, the appearance raises her national standing.
… One of those ways will be to build her credibility as a potential running mate to next year’s GOP presidential nominee.
If, as expected, Hillary Clinton is the Democratic presidential nominee, “there will be a lot of pressure on Republicans to put a woman on the ticket unless the Republican nominee happens to be Carly Fiorina,” said political analyst Dean Spiliotes, a civics scholar at Southern New Hampshire University. “And Kelly Ayotte is as logical of a choice as anyone else.”
Ayotte, in fact, is already viewed as being on a very short list of contenders for the vice presidential spot.
… The state Democratic Party said Ayotte’s attendance at the E2 will be another leg on what it mockingly called Ayotte’s “Veepstakes” tour, which included recent political visits to Missouri and Texas. The party noted that in January 2014, Ayotte attended a “destination” fundraiser in Utah, funded by lobbyists.
“It’s no secret that Kelly Ayotte is trying to position herself with an aggressive political travel schedule to try to raise her national profile,” state Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley said. He charged that she has “completely turned her back on the people and businesses of New Hampshire.”
… Spiliotes said there will be “intense national interest” and huge spending on each side if, as expected, Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan challenges Ayotte’s re-election bid next year. He said Ayotte remains generally popular in her home state, but “if she begins to look like she is lobbying to be vice president, it could be a problem.”
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