Kelly Ayotte’s 15 minutes of fame on the national political stage continues tonight (Tuesday, Aug. 28) when she speaks at the Republican National Convention.
The question is whether her Andy Warhol-esque 15 minutes extend beyond tonight?
Or will her time on the national stage fade after the election as she returns to her day job as New Hampshire’s first-term junior U.S. senator?
Ayotte, on Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s short list of running mates, will talk tonight about Romney in the context of his support of small business.
All kinds of future scenarios could play out after the election.
If Romney and running mate Paul Ryan win in November, the president and vice presidential slots among Republicans will be locked up for four, perhaps eight years.
But, if Romney wins, could Ayotte be in line for a cabinet post? Commerce? Labor? Attorney general?
Cases could be made for each, given her credentials with small businesses and her past role as state attorney general.
If Romney loses in November, opportunities abound for Ayotte come 2016. Her own run for president? Another turn as a pick for vice president?
First, in order to define her aspirations, she’ll have to decide whether she’ll run for re-election as senator. Her six-year term is up in 2016. She can’t run for national office while also trying to run for re-election.
And there’s the question of whether her star will still be rising in four years.
The speakers’ list for the GOP convention in Tampa is a roster of stars – some rising, some fading, some we expect to hear from in future years, some we’ve heard from a lot already:
Among the speakers who might be considered the future stars:
- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie;
- Ohio Gov. John Kasich;
- Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin;
- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell;
- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker;
- New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez;
- Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.
And, of course, don’t forget the also-rans from the 2012 campaign:
- Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan;
- Ohio U.S. Sen. Rob Portman;
- Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty;
- Former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum
Where does Ayotte fall in these groups? Can she still compete on a national stage? Will she want to compete? Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.
Paul Briand is an editor for the Live Free or Die Association, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that encourages the analysis and discussion of New Hampshire politics and policies.