First on NH1 News: Ayotte touts fundraising figures
CONCORD - Sen. Kelly Ayotte raised over $1.2 million the past three months towards her 2016 re-election campaign.
And the New Hampshire Republican has more than $3 million cash on hand. NH1 News was first to report the fundraising figures Tuesday afternoon.
Ayotte faces what could be a very challenging re-election next year, possibly facing a Democratic challenge from Gov. Maggie Hassan. And Ayotte is running for a second term in the Senate during a presidential election year, which brings with it a larger electorate that tends to favor Democrats.
"I am humbled by the outpouring of support, especially from citizens across New Hampshire. It's an honor to be their voice in the Senate, and I look forward to continuing to fight on their behalf to restore the New Hampshire values of hard work, liberty, and common sense to our nation's capital," Ayotte said in a statement.
Ayotte's campaign compared the senator's 2015 first quarter numbers with the 2013 first quarter figures of Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who last year won re-election, fending off a tough GOP challenge from former Sen. Scott Brown during a midterm election climate that favored the Republicans.
While both senators raised around the same amount, Ayotte has more than twice the cash on hand that Shaheen had at a similar time in the 2014 election cycle. And the $208,394 Ayotte raised from in-state donors is more than the $170,966 Shaheen raised from Granite State contributors in the January-March 2013 period.
A Hassan spokesman says the governor will decide on whether she runs for re-election or for the Senate after a two-year state budget is passed and after the current legislative session concludes, which is expected to occur in June.
Two of the top non-partisan political handicappers, the Cook Political Report and the Rothenberg Political Report, both currently rate the Senate showdown in the purple state as "lean Republican."