Jul 25, 2016 12:00 PM

First on NH1 News: Ayotte campaign to target Hassan during Democratic convention

NH1 News Political Director

PHILADELPHIALast week the New Hampshire Democratic Party spent the week targeting GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who stayed in New Hampshire to campaign for re-election rather than attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

This week it appears payback time, as Ayotte’s re-election campaign said Monday it will put the spotlight on her Democratic challenger, Gov. Maggie Hassan, who’s attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia as a superdelegate.

Ayotte’s campaign tells NH1 News that they’ll put out on a daily basis videos and email releases that they say “will highlight how Hassan intends to be a rubber stamp” for presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and for Washington Democrats. The campaign also claims that Hassan is a “player in a rigged system that tried to overrule the will of the voters instead of standing up for the people of New Hampshire.”

“Unlike Kelly who spent last week in New Hampshire talking with voters across the state, superdelegate Governor Hassan will skip town again this week for the Democratic National Convention to hobnob with Hillary Clinton and the Washington special interests who are backing her Senate campaign,” Ayotte campaign spokeswoman Liz Johnson told NH1 News.

But a New Hampshire Democrat, who asked to remain anonymous, pointed towards a report from Nevada's top political reporter, that Ayotte on Tuesday will be attending a Las Vegas fundraiser being hosted by Nevada Sen. Dean Heller.

Four other GOP senators facing difficult re-elections this year will also be in attendance.

The report comes as the Ayotte campaign and allied GOP groups continue to criticize the governor for the time she's spent out of state this year for political events such as fundraisers.

Monday Hassan campaign press secretary Meira Bernstein told NH1 News that "Kelly Ayotte’s support for Donald Trump shows a troubling lack of judgment and is just another example of how she consitently puts her political party and her special interest backers first. All Granite Staters should be concerned that Senator Ayotte has pledged to support Trump for Commander-in-Chief despite the judgment of national security experts and members of both parties who have said that he’s a danger to our country’s vital interests."

Last week the NHDP sent out email releases highlighting the agenda Ayotte shares with GOP nominee Donald Trump, which they said includes “includes undermining health care for women, obstructing the Supreme Court confirmation process.”

NHDP Chair Ray Buckley told NH1 News that they were going to “hold Kelly Ayotte and Donald Trump accountable for their records and reckless policies that would hurt hardworking families across the Granite State.”

The showdown between Ayotte and Hassan is one of the most high profile, expensive, and negative U.S. Senate races in the country. Ayotte also faces a long shot primary challenge by former state Sen. Jim Rubens.

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