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Mitt Romney in N.H. with potential running mate Kelly Ayotte

Bill Greene/Globe Staff

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears with US Senator Kelly Ayotte (left) during a Nov. 20, 2011, rally on the front steps of City Hall in Nashua, N.H.

Mitt Romney is campaigning today in New Hampshire with yet another potential vice presidential running mate.

Win McNamee/Getty Images/File

US Senator Kelly Ayotte

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee will be joined by US Senator Kelly Ayotte as he makes an appearance just before 11 a.m. at the Portsmouth Fish Pier in Portsmouth, N.H.

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In some senses, the union is natural: Ayotte is the highest-ranking Republican figure in the state, and people in that position often serve as host when another high-ranking Republican visits.

But New Hampshire is also a swing state in this fall’s general election, and Ayotte is thought to be among those Romney will consider for his ticket against President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

The first-term senator could bring gender balance, as well as a law-and-order pedigree given her background as a former state attorney general and prosecutor. Her husband, Joseph Daley, is also a retired military pilot who flew combat missions in Iraq.

The joint appearance will allow aides a fresh chance to see Romney and Ayotte in action together, and to gauge the optics of the tandem.

Two weeks ago, Romney made a similar appearance in Pennsylvania with another potential running mate, US Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

His speaking ability is widely heralded, but the youthful Rubio (he is just 40) also had the appearance of being one of Romney’s sons as the two stood side-by-side answering reporters’ questions.

Before Rick Santorum dropped out of the race on April 10, eliminating Romney’s final major threat to the nomination, Romney campaigned for Wisconsin primary with a third potential running mate, US Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

And Romney was boosted in several primary states - including New Hampshire in January - by a fourth possible running mate, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.

A fifth potential partner, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, is expected to join Romney during fund-raising appearances in Northern Virginia this week.

McDonnell, who is term-limited from seeking reelection, is airing TV ads highlighting his record and achievements as governor.

Glen Johnson can be reached at johnson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.
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