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Sep 7, 2016 11:02 AM

First on NH1 News: Hassan launches first contrast spot by either campaign in NH Senate battle

NH1 News Political Director

CONCORD – There have been a slew of negative TV ads in New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate battle, courtesy of super PACs and other outside groups. But for the first time one of the actual campaigns in the blockbuster race launched contrast ad.

“New Hampshire, think a minute about Kelly Ayotte the politician. Ayotte claims she’s independent, then goes to Washington and votes with the Koch Brothers 90% of the time,” says the narrator in a new spot by Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, who’s challenging Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

The commercial, titled “Special Interests,” was first reported by NH1 News on Wednesday morning. The Hassan campaign says they’re spending six-figures to run the ad on broadcast TV in the Boston/Manchester market, including WBIN-TV, the television home of NH1 News. The campaign says the spot will also run on cable TV and online.

The narrator in the ad goes charges that Ayotte “takes millions from Wall Street and big drug companies and then votes to put their agenda before everyday families. Higher drug prices. And cutbacks to our Medicare. So think about it: New Hampshire can choose the special interests’ Senator with Kelly Ayotte or a people’s Senator for a change.”

Pro-Republican and pro-Democratic outside groups have spent millions of dollars to flood Granite State airwaves over the past year with commercials slamming either Ayotte or Hassan, making the showdown one of the most expensive and negative Senate races in the country.

Responding to the new spot, Ayotte spokeswoman Liz Johnson told NH1 News that "Governor Hassan refuses to answer questions or tell voters where she stands on the issues, so she's running a campaign based solely on negative attacks - propped up by her special interest allies in Washington who are trying to buy New Hampshire's Senate seat.”

"Kelly has been consistently ranked as one of the most bipartisan senators and she's running a positive campaign based on her strong record of delivering results for our state. She has shown that she's the only candidate who will stand up to do what's right for New Hampshire, regardless of party,” Johnson added.

While this is the first negative TV spot by either of the top two campaigns in the race, they’ve both aired contrast ads on radio.

Last December the Hassan campaign launched a radio commercial spotlighting Ayotte’s vote on a loophole that allowed known or suspected terrorists to purchase weapons.

That same month the Ayotte campaign went up with a radio ad that criticized Hassan over her knowledge of the threat by ISIS. And in June the Ayotte campaign aired a radio spot slamming Hassan for her out of state political travel.

Besides the challenge from Hassan, Ayotte also faces a long shot primary challenge from former state Sen. Jim Rubens of Hanover. The two tangled for the first time in a debate last Thursday on an NH1 News GOP primary debate in the U.S. Senate race.

The primary is September 13.

WATCH: The NH1 News Ayotte-Rubens primary debate

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