Sen. Kelly Ayotte announced late Saturday evening that she has decided to endorse Mitt Romney for president.
The support of the freshman New Hampshire Republican gives the former Massachusetts governor the backing of a key conservative in the Granite State, home to the first primary and second contest overall in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.
“I have been looking for a candidate who can lead our country based on shared conservative principles and who can win. For me, Mitt Romney is that candidate,” Ayotte said in an email to supporters.
Ayotte, elected in 2010 in part on the strength of support from conservatives such as Sarah Palin, had told Roll Call in an interview just a few days ago that she was on the fence about whether to endorse in the Republican presidential primary. In that interview, she described Romney as the frontrunner in New Hampshire but said by no means does he have the race locked up.
Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, holds his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem as he waits to take the stage for his town hall campaign rally with Sen. John McCain at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.