New Hampshire Public Radio: Josh Rogers

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000 and serves as NHPRâââ

That New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte is even being considered as Mitt Romney's running mate is somewhat remarkable. After all, New Hampshire has just four electoral votes, and Ayotte has been a U.S. senator — her first elected office — for less than two years.

But if any senator could be said to possess a refreshing charm, it might be Ayotte, 44, a mother of two young children, who still lives in her hometown of Nashua and is married to a former combat pilot.

Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney spent his July Fourth holiday marching in a New Hampshire parade, and backtracking statements a top adviser made about the individual mandate in the Obama health care law.

There was something for almost everybody in Wolfeboro's Independence Day parade: a local brass band, bonnet-wearing Daughters of the American Revolution, a Zumba instructor shimmying across the bed of a pickup truck, and even a Jimmy Durante impersonator, complete with prosthetic nose.

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire is the latest politician to appear on the campaign trail with presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. That's fueled speculation that Ayotte is being considered as a running mate.

New Hampshire, one of the least religious states in the nation, has become the latest front in the political battle over contraception. State GOP leaders oppose the new federal rule compelling insurers to provide birth control to employees of religious organizations. They want to change a 12-year-old state law that requires contraceptive coverage under insurers' prescription drug policies.

It's hard to miss the politics fueling state House Speaker William O'Brien's push to carve out a religious exemption from the contraception mandate.

As several states debate measures to legalize gay marriage, New Hampshire is considering a repeal of its same-sex marriage law. The repeal has the backing of some top leaders in the GOP-controlled Legislature. But rescinding rights is never easy, particularly in a state that takes its liberties seriously.

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