Jun 6, 2016 7:58 AM

First on NH1 News: Ayotte targets Hassan on radio hours before governor files for Senate

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – Kelly Ayotte’s re-election campaign launches a new radio ad Monday morning that criticizes the Republican senator’s Democratic challenger, Gov. Maggie Hassan, for her out of state political travel, NH1 News has learned.

The spot began running hours before Hassan heads down the hall in the State House from the Corner Office to the Secretary of State’s office to file her candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

The commercial highlights recent news reports that indicated that New Hampshire taxpayers are paying the costs for Hassan’s security detail on her campaign trips outside the Granite State.

“Costs mounted as Hassan traveled out of the state campaigning on 30 days from February through April – more than 1/3 of work days, according to an independent fact check group,” says the narrator in the one minute long spot.

“With Hassan’s excessive out-of- state campaigning, she’s not focused on doing the job she was elected to do -- and New Hampshire taxpayers are paying the price,” adds the narrator in the ad.

The commercial also uses quotes from opinion-editorial pieces the Nashua Telegraph and the Keene Sentinel that included quotes critical of Hassan.

"Governor Hassan is not doing her job, is not focused on issues facing New Hampshire, and has misled voters about using taxpayer dollars to cover costs for her excessive political travel," Ayotte campaign spokeswoman Liz Johnson told NH1 News. "

This ad makes clear that by continuing to put her political ambitions before the people of New Hampshire, Hassan has failed to live up to her promise to 'focus each and every day' on her job as governor," she added.

Ayotte, her campaign, and the New Hampshire GOP have repeatedly criticized Hassan the past two months for her out of state political travel. But the governor has pushed back against such attacks.

Last month Hassan told NH1 News “I was in state for many of the days that they’re talking about and I was also generally within New England. I think is pretty hypocritical of Sen. Ayotte who has refused to be transparent about her own travel schedule.”

“Just recently Sen. Ayotte was supposed to be back in the state for the Senate state work week and for 80% of those days she had no public events in New Hampshire while she was fundraising. So it’s a pretty standard and hypocritical political attack,” Hassan added.

Responding to the new radio ad, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley said “Granite Staters won’t be deceived by Kelly Ayotte’s latest misleading attack ad that attempts to change the subject from her continued support of the openly racist Donald Trump."

With the showdown between Ayotte and Hassan one of the most high-profile, negative and expensive Senate races in the country this year, both candidates have had to devote a fair amount of time fundraising.

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