N.H. Senator Ayotte to endorse Romney

US Senator Kelly Ayotte plans to endorse Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a rally this afternoon in Nashua, N.H.

Ayotte is the first of the Republican members of the congressional delegation in New Hampshire, which holds the nation’s first primary, to endorse a candidate.

In a statement, Ayotte said that Republicans need to nominate their strongest candidate to fight Obama. “Mitt Romney has proven not only through his prior experience as a successful businessman and governor, but also through his solid campaign and excellent debate performances, that he is that candidate,’’ she wrote.

She cited Romney’s experience cutting taxes and cutting the deficit in Massachusetts. Ayotte, who serves on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, also expressed confidence in Romney’s ability to deal with national security issues – from fighting terrorists to addressing a growing China and nuclear threats from rogue nations.

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The endorsement could help as Romney tries to portray himself as an unstoppable frontrunner – he has already lined up endorsements from more than 30 members of Congress. Ayotte, a first-term senator and former New Hampshire attorney general, is seen as a rising star of the Republican Party.

Former New Hampshire Republican Senator Judd Gregg already endorsed Romney and has appeared with him at events.

Ayotte, who is from Nashua, will appear with Romney at a rally at 2:15 at Nashua City Hall. Romney will follow that event with a meet and greet at Jackie’s Diner in Nashua.

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