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Outgoing Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., is at the top of President-elect Trump's list for secretary of defense, according to a report. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Outgoing Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., is at the top of President-elect Trump’s list for secretary of defense, according to a Washington Post report published Friday evening.

Other candidates up for the Pentagon chief slot are retired Army Lt. Gen. Joseph “Keith” Kellogg, former Defense Intelligence Agency director Gen. Mike Flynn and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.

Ayotte lost her re-election battle to New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan by less than 800 votes, opening her up for a job offer, especially in light of her military family background and inclusion on the Armed Services Committee.

Sources said Ayotte’s neoconservative background would help her serve as a liaison between the GOP establishment in Congress and Trump administration. She would also be the first woman to oversee the Defense Department.

Trump surrogate, Omarosa Manigault, said earlier this week that the campaign has kept a list of those who did and did not support his bid for president. Ayotte has wavered in her support for Trump, but ultimately said she would write in Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, thus making her potential appointment a surprise.

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