The woman tipped to be the next Prime Minister joined the Conservative campaign trial today.
Home secretary Theresa May met with party candidate Maria Hutching in a visit to Southampton Airport as she canvases for votes.
The terminal is Eastleigh's biggest employer, with 1200 staff working in 30 companies who collectively generate £100m for the local economy.
Endorsing Mrs Hutchings, she said: "Here we have a good candidate in Maria. She lives locally and knows the local area and has campaigned on a range of issues for local people.
"She's is not just a professional politician, she gets on with the job and delivers for local people and that's crucial. She has already shown she could be a great voice and stand up for the local area."
Mrs May also took the opportunity to meet with UK Border and Immigration staff, who are on the frontline of her battle against illegal migrants.
Along with foreign secretary William Hague and Secretary for Work and Pensions Ian Duncan Smith she is the latest big gun to be deployed in the battle for the crucial seat.
It comes after Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg launched the race for the seat after Chris Huhne resigned after confessing to perverting the course of justice.
The date for the election has been set for Feburary 28.
More stories from the Eastleigh by-election
- Liberal Democrat Mike Thornton is new Eastleigh MP
- Clegg hails Lib Dem win in Eastleigh
- New Eastleigh MP's pledge to voters
- I'm overwhelmed by victory, says MPs wife
- Full list of Eastleigh by-election results
- Defeated Tory candidate made a swift exit
- Mike's night but UKIP almost took centre stage
- Lib Dem Mike Thornton is Eastleigh's new MP